Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup

September 08, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Other

It’s time to use up this late summer tomato crop. This soup is the perfect way to do it. It comes from The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook.  I love this cookbook because of the easy step-by-step instructions, really great photos of the cooking process and a nice reference section about storing and purchasing fruits, vegetables, pasta, grains and legumes.

When making this soup, I let the tomatoes simmer much longer than the 20 minutes that were suggested in this recipe. I’m sure the soup would still taste just as good but I think the extra simmer time did let the flavors meld a little bit better.

I also did not have sun-dried tomato paste on hand.  So, instead, I used some whole sun-dried tomatoes that I had on hand, reconstituted them by soaking them in some boiling hot water for about 10 minutes. I chopped the sun-dried tomatoes into little pieces and added them, along with some of the soaking water, into the soup.

Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup
The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter (I just used olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ripe Italian plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • about 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 T sun-dried tomato paste (see note above)
  • 2 T fresh basil, shredded
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • whole basil leaves, to garnish

Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan until foaming. Add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the onion is softened but not brown.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and garlic, then add the stock, white wine, and sun-dried tomato paste, with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then lower the heat, half-cover the pan, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup

Process the soup with the shredded basil in a blender or food processor, then press through a sifter into a clean pan.

Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup

Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup

Add the cream and heat through, stirring. Do not allow the soup to approach the boiling point.

Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup

Tomato and Fresh Basil Soup

Check the consistency and add more stock if necessary, then season with salt and pepper. Pour into heated bowls and garnish with basil. Serve at once.

Restaurant Review – San Francisco Soup Company, San Francisco, California

May 26, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Restaurant Review

The San Francisco Soup Company – why couldn’t this place be called Washington DC Soup Company? I would eat lunch here every day if it was located on the East Coast. As a vegetarian, it’s so refreshing to enter a restaurant and have items identified as vegan or vegetarian. This is even more refreshing when ordering soups because of ubiquitous chicken or beef stock in many soup recipes.

The San Francisco Soup Company boasts a long list of fresh soups that were vegetarian. The gentleman behind the counter gave me the  opportunity to sample a few soups. I had trouble deciding between a hot pea soup and  a cold avocado based southwestern soup. We also ordered a tomato bisque.  The menu changes daily but can be found easily on their website.

The tomato bisque had several complex flavors and depth. It was smoky and creamy. On a cool spring day, the soup was warming and filling.

San Francisco Soup Company - Tomato Soup

I finally decided on the cold avocado soup as it was refreshing and light. I added some hot sauce and sour cream and it became a fantastic mid-afternoon snack.

San Francisco Soup Company - Avocado Soup

There are 16 locations around San Francisco according to their website. I also just found out that there is a San Francisco Soup Company location in the SFO airport in Terminal 3. On my next layover, I definitely will be stopping by.

San Francisco Soup Company
Various Locations
San Francisco, California

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzo Ball Soup

April 13, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Other

This recipe was cobbled together from various recipes around the interwebs. I used a box mix to make the matzo balls and stuffed them with a vegetarian chicken mixture. The resulting giant matzo balls tasted great in a “quick to make” vegetable broth. The best thing about this recipe is that you can make the various mixtures and put them in the fridge until you are ready to make the matzo balls. That meant that I could work on this soup a little bit at a time as I finished up some other things around the house.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzo Ball Soup
by Megabeth

Soup

  • 2 32oz cartons of vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Matzo Balls

  • 1 5oz package Manischewitz Matzo ball mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons canola oil

Stuffing for Matzo Balls

  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced vegetarian “chicken” (I used about 1/2 a 6 oz package of Lightlife Chick’n Style Strips.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t dried rosemary
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare matzo ball mixture per package instructions to make 12 1 1/2 inch matzo balls. In a small bowl, blend eggs and vegetable oil and then add the two packages of matzo ball mix.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Stir with fork until evenly mixed. Place bowl in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

While the matzo ball mix is chilling in the refrigerator, heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and parsley and saute an additional two minutes. Put onion mixture into food processor and add chicken, egg, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Process until mixture turns into a thick paste.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add vegetable broth to another pot. Add carrots and herbs to broth. Bring to a boil, cover and then leave to simmer while making matzo balls.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Place a layer of plastic wrap on a baking sheet and spray with a light layer of cooking spray. Remove matzo mixture from the refrigerator. Wet hands, and roll matzo mixture into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls and place on baking sheet.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Put a small divot into each matzo ball.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Add some of the stuffing mixture into each divot…

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

…and reform the matzo into a ball – enclosing the stuffing.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Gently place each stuffed matzo ball into pot of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Once matzo balls are cooked through, remove each ball with a slotted spoon and place into a soup bowl. Ladle vegetable broth into each bowl.

Vegetarian Stuffed Matzoh Ball Soup

Be careful – matzo balls are really really hot right out of the pot!

Sárgaborsó Leves (Hungarian Yellow Split Pea Soup)

March 26, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Other

I had purchased a bag of moong dal (split yellow peas) from the Indian grocery store and was looking for something different to make with them. In my search for recipes, I stumbled onto a Hungarian soup recipe that had been adapted from the cookbook Hungarian (Culinaria).

The original recipe called for only 4 cups of stock but I found that as I cooked the soup, the liquid boiled off. So, I estimate I put in an additional 2 cups of liquid…it may haved ended up being a little more that that.

Sárgaborsó Leves (Hungarian Yellow Split Pea Soup)
Adapted by Megabeth from Celtnet

  • 1/2 large white onion – chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow split peas (moong dal)
  • Salt and white pepper – to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (I used Vegebase)

Combine the onions and split peas in a large pot.

yellow split pea soup

Pour the stock over the top, bring to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes then season liberally with salt and black pepper. (Watch the pot to make sure peas do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir often and reduce heat as necessary.)

yellow split pea soup

yellow split pea soup

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan, scatter the flour over the top and stir to combine. Continue frying, stirring frequently, until the flour has browned.

yellow split pea soup

yellow split pea soup

Add the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir-in 1/2 cup of the soup stock and whisk to combine then turn the mixture into the soup. Note: you may have to add some additional water or stock to the peas as the liquid may cook off a bit.

yellow split pea soup

Mix thoroughly and cover the pot. Then return the soup to a simmer until the peas are completely tender. (My soup took over an hour of simmering until the peas were completely tender. I also added some additional liquid as it boiled off.)


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