Sunday, September 14, 2008

i made tomato soup

melissa and i went to the farmers market this morning. one of the stalls had a few bins labeled "seconds - 99cents/lb". this meant they were the picked-over tomatoes and peppers and peaches deemed substandard and not worth three or four dollars a pound like the "firsts", so to speak. but some of the things in there looked fine except for a few bruises or spots.

so we picked over those vegetables even more. found four yellow peppers that looked just fine -- and when can you buy any kind of bell pepper other than green for a dollar per pound? and we got two pounds of slicing tomatoes (not heirlooms) that had a black spot here and there, deciding that they would make a fine minestrone or gazpacho or something like that, once we chopped out the spots and cooked them down.

back at home i noticed we had three different bottles of leftover red wine. i hate throwing things out, so i would have to either find a simmering application for at least some of that wine...or try my hand at making vinegar.

2 lbs tomatoes, cut in half
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil
kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
bay leaf
fresh basil (chopped), rosemary, and thyme
a cup or two of chicken stock
half a lemon

spray a baking sheet or dish with cooking spray and fill it with the tomatoes (cut side up) and the onions and garlic. drizzle olive oil over everything, then sprinkle salt and pepper over it. roast in a 375F oven for 45 minutes -- until onions are browning but not burnt, and everything smells really good.

in the meantime, put the cup of red wine and the bay leaf in a soup pot on the stove, and simmer uncovered until the wine has reduced by half.

when the vegetables are roasted, put them in a blender and puree them. we used a stick blender, which you stick right into a bowl, but if you are using an actual upright blender, do it in portions or with the lid half-open so that the hot liquid doesn't explode out of your blender and redecorate your kitchen in lovely warm autumn tones.

pour the puree into the reduced wine, add the herbs and some chicken stock (go gradually with the stock and thin out to your liking), stir well, and simmer together for a few minutes. turn off the heat and stir in a bit of fresh lemon juice.

pour into bowls over big croutons...or just stand around the stove and dip rye bread into the pot.

by the way, those peppers? most of them turned out to have weird hardened seed clusters, and tiny baby peppers germinating inside of them. kind of like...fetuses. and you know what? those pepper fetuses were delightfully fresh-tasting and crisp.

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