My Day So Far: Unpacked from Cooperstown trip - no more traveling for a while! Grocery shopping, romp at the playground - it's warmed up just enough to play outdoors (hurray!)
Naptime Goals: Make a yummy pot of Tomato Soup Florentine to eat for the next two nights. Catch up on laundry and mail (ack - Christmas shopping bills have arrived!!)
Tonight's Meal: Tomato Soup Florentine, grilled cheeses on the panini maker.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Mr. Potato-Head is easily one of the best toys ever invented.
I am beat after our whirlwind trip to Cooperstown last week. Between driving to Cooperstown, Syracuse, and back to New York City, I am ready to hang up my driving gloves for a little bit. Upon returning Sunday I was in the mood for bowl of comforting, healthy Tomato Soup Florentine. A restorative and nourishing meal, it was just the thing to welcome us home after a hectic week on the road.
There are many recipes tomato soup available and this happens to be my favorite. My mother first made it for me years ago and I was instantly hooked. At the time she served it I had just returned from college after a particularly rigorous fall semester. Perhaps it was the special feeling of comfort it imparted, but I have associated this soup with all good, warm feelings ever since.
Sentimental moments aside, two more reasons I am partial to this recipe is because a) it can be assembled with pantry basics and b) it doesn't contain any cream. Like most people, I enjoy a good creamy soup from time to time, but in this case there is no need for it. Due to the slow and steady cooking method, the pureed onion, garlic and herbs blend beautifully with the chicken broth and tomatoes to form a full-bodied soup that lacks for nothing in the flavor department.
Like most great soups, this one is perfect for making during my daughter's afternoon naptime. In fact, the flavor actually improves over time so I recommend making this a few hours, to a few days, before you want to eat it. When it comes to meal time we like to break out the panini maker and whip up some yummy grilled cheeses for dunking in our bowls. (Since paninis can't be made ahead of time I usually hand my daughter her new Mr. Potato-Head and she is happily occupied for the few minutes it takes to grill the sandwich!) If you don't feel like sandwiches, this soup is also delicious on it's own with a side of cheese toast and a green salad.
Tomato Soup Florentine
Makes 8 cups
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
3 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 c. white wine
28 oz. whole tomatoes with juice
2 c. chicken broth
2 T. dried basil or 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, torn
2 T. sugar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and dried OR 5 oz. fresh spinach leaves
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until soft. About 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.
2. Carefully pour in white wine, simmer until almost completely evaporated. Pour in the cans of tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth and basil. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil for 1 minute. Then, reduce heat and simmer soup for 10 minutes.
3. Working carefully, puree soup with a hand blender until completely smooth. Or, scoop it into a blender and puree until smooth. When all of the soup is completed return it to the pot and bring it to a simmer.
4. Allow soup to simmer for a few minutes, then stir in the sugar and vinegar. Stir in spinach and allow to wilt. Serve hot with a garnish of cheese.
Naptime Recipe Props and Tips: Need to drain the water from your thawed spinach? Put it in a potato ricer and squeeze until excess water is drained! This soup freezes well, simply put it in a sealed container until you want to eat it.
Naptime Stopwatch: It takes me about 40 minutes to prepare this soup and it makes 9 (nine!) cups.
Naptime Reviews: I've learned to tone down the red pepper when my daughter will be eating it - otherwise we will love it!