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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cream of Tomato Soup

Tomato soup reminds me of the good old newlywed days when DH and I were living on a grocery budget of $20 a week. We ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiched and tomato soup for our lunches in order to live cheap. We used to throw in a little bit of cream into our canned soup to make it better. This soup comes pretty close to how we used to eat it. Now when I eat this cream of tomato soup a flood of memories come back of that first year of being married and all fun times we had. It's become a comfort food to me.

2 tbsp(30ml) butter
1/2 onion
5-6 chopped, skinned tomatoes(see this link)
1 tbsp(15ml) brown sugar
2 tbsp(30ml) butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup(360ml) milk
1 1/2 cup(360ml) water
1 tsp(5ml) salt
pepper to taste


Assemble ingredients. Deskin tomatoes. Core and chop tomatoes.
Melt butter over medium heat.
Add onions and cook for 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Stir every minute or so.
Add chopped tomatoes,
and brown sugar and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Puree tomatoes in blender or food processor. Set aside.
Rinse and dry pot. Melt additional butter. Add flour and stir.
Cook 2-3 minutes over medium heat stirring often.
Gradually add milk
and water, whisking to combine evenly.
Keep whisking as you cook for 2-3 more minutes until mixture has thickened.
Add tomato puree and heat until soup is almost boiling, stirring often so the bottom does not scorch.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Homemade Popsicles!

As we are staying in Shanghai this summer I'm trying to find ways to keep cool. I bought these popsicle makers at IKEA for an article I wrote last month and we've been having fun making homemade popsicles these past few days.
They are 10RMB a piece and really easy to use. Simply fill them up to the little line inside and put the plastic stick inside. Put in the freezer for a few hours until frozen. When pulling them out of the mold, a good tip is to hold them in your hand for a minute. THe heat from your hand will be just enough to melt them a bit and make it easier to remove.
Just Google homemade popsicles and you will find lots of ideas, but the easiest way to make popsicles is simply fill them with store bought juice. We have made grape, apple and coconut popsicles this week. My favorite is coconut and my boys like the grape ones. They have a lot less sugar than regular popsicles, no artificial colors added and the kids think it is so cool to make it themselves!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

De-skinning Tomatoes

Ugg! Serious computer problems the last week with my hard drive dying (in the middle of trying to post to the blog) and then a whole lot of VPN problems. But now everything is sorted (fingers crossed)!

Years of helping my mom home bottle tomatoes every summer has taught me this little trick for removing tomato skins. For some recipes (like this Marinara Sauce) I am much too lazy to remove the skins, but for some recipes (like my Cream of Tomato Soup) you really need to remove them so you won't have bits of tomato skin floating around.

After washing your tomatoes, score the bottom of the tomato with an X.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.
When the water is boiling add tomatoes.
Boil for 3-5 minutes until you can see the skin starting to pulll away from where it has been cut.

Using a slotted spoon remove the tomatoes from the water.
Let the tomatoes cool slightly until you are able to touch them without burning your hands.
Peel the skins off.

Core the tomatoes. You can also de-seed them if you want exceptionally smooth texture. Use as needed in soups, pasta or other recipes.