Tomato Basil Soup


I love me some tomato soup. Especially homemade. Especially near the end of summer when I can go to the farmer’s market and buy tomato seconds by the bushel. They’re the tomatoes that might have gotten bruised or blemished that don’t sell as well, and as a bonus, they’re really cheap. But they’re perfect for soup. Look for roma (plum) tomato seconds. They’re nice and meaty. Don’t forget to get an onion and some fresh basil while you’re at the market!

Tomato Basil Soup

~8 cups chicken broth, or as much to just cover the tomatoes you have
as many fresh, ripe roma tomatoes you can buy
1 small bunch of fresh basil
3 T tomato paste
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, optional
1 pint heavy cream, optional (half and half works well

1. Peel the tomatoes. It’s easy, it just takes a little time. Score the bottom of the tomato with an X with a knife, like this. —->

2. Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds or so, or until you see the skins starting to peel back or shrivel up. Fish them out of the water with a strainer and plunge them into a bowl of ice water to cool off.

3. Once you do that, the skins should just slip right off. Keep the skins in a bowl, and seed the tomatoes into the same bowl. I just use my hands, since the tomatoes are already slightly mushy at this point anyway. Keep the tomato ‘meat’ in a large bowl or pot until ready to use.

4. Take the bowl of seeds and skins and press through
a mesh sieve to extract as much of the tomato pulp and juice as you can. Add that back to the bowl of tomato ‘meat’ and discard the skins.

5. In a large pot, heat olive oil and sweat the onions
and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute to concentrate the flavors and caramelize the paste.

6. Add your tomatoes and juice, chicken broth, and the
cleaned bunch of basil. Isoup71 just leave the basil on the
stems and fish the entire
bunch out later on. It flavors the soup but doesn’t leave green specks.

7. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the basil, and puree with a stick blender, or in a counter top blender in batches.
Add cream, if using.

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Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)


Pho is the ultimate comfort food. Hot, fragrant both, noodles, tender beef, herbs, chiles, fish sauce…Well, it’s my comfort food, anyway. (Don’t be scared, it doesn’t taste fishy.)

I – and many others – have never been able to replicate restaurant pho at home. No one’s sure why. MSG? Stock that simmers for days? Who knows. That, coupled with the amount of time and money this recipe takes, makes me suggest that you only make this if you really, really like pho, and you really, really like cooking. This soup is really good, but not as good as you can get for $5 a bowl at your local Vietnamese place. This is expensive to make, unless you know a butcher you can get soup bones from for free, and yields relatively little. But it is good.


For the Stock:
3.5 lb oxtail (No oxtails were available, so I used beef neck)
2 1/4 lb beef shank or brisket (I used brisket)
2 large onions
2 carrots
3 in fresh ginger
6 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole star anise
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 T soy sauce
3-4 T nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)

For the add-ins/garnishes:
9 oz beef sirloin
8 oz rice noodles
1 onion, sliced paper thin
2-3 thai bird chiles or jalapenos
4 oz fresh beansprouts
1 large bunch cilantro and mint (I did not use mint, and I have also had it frequently with basil as well)
2 limes

1. Make the stock. Put oxtail or soup bones into a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. While that’s boiling, roast your onions over the flame of your gas stove, or under the broiler until the skins turn black. Remove the skins. Roughly chop the onions and carrots and peel the ginger with a spoon.

2. After 10 minutes, drain the soup bones, rinse them, and clean out the pot. You’re getting rid of any scum here. Return the bones and add the other stock ingredients to the pot,except the fish sauce. Add 12 cups of water, and simmer for as long as you can stand it with the lid on, at least 3 hours. After that time, remove the lid and simmer another hour to reduce slightly.

3. When you just can’t stand it anymore and need to eat soon, remove the brisket from the pot, and strain everything into a clean pot through a mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Discard the solids.

4. Bring the soup to a simmer and add the fish sauce to taste. Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Slice the chiles and onion paper thin, and chop the herbs. Slice the sirloin as thin as humanly possible. The reason this is important is because the sirloin is cooked only once the hot broth hits it; otherwise it is never cooked. It helps to freeze the sirloin for 30 minutes or so before slicing.

5. Assemble noodles in bowls and top with slices of the sirloin. Ladle the simmering broth over top and watch the meat cook! Top each bowl with herbs, lime juice, chiles, bean sprouts and onions to taste. Then drool.

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Avgolemono is a Greek lemon and egg soup, usually with a base of chicken stock.

It’s a perfect soup for a number of reasons:
Creamy but with no dairy products – lactose intolerant friendly
Can be made with veggie stock – vegetarian friendly
Super fast and only 5 ingredients – everyone friendly

The only unfriendly bit about this is the amount of eggs if you’re watching your cholesterol. I imagine you could cut down on the amount of egg yolks in the recipe if you’re concerned about it. It really only works out to about 1-2 eggs per serving, though.


~12 c chicken broth or stock
7 lemons
10 eggs
1 1/2 cups rice
fresh dill for garnish

1. Bring your broth or stock to a simmer and add your rice. Cook until the rice is almost tender, about 5 minutes before it’s finished.

2. Crack your eggs into a large bowl. Juice the lemons into the bowl (through a sieve, watch out for pits!). Whisk that together well, and let it sit and come to room temperature before you proceed.

3. When the rice is almost tender and the eggs are room temperature, temper the eggs by adding a ladle of hot broth while whisking constantly. Keep adding ladles of broth one by one while whisking until you have double the liquid in the bowl than you started with. The egg mixture should now be hot.

4. Add the tempered eggs back into the pot of broth and simmer gently until the rice is fully cooked and the soup has thickened. Top with snipped dill to serve.

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