Fresh tomatoes straight from the garden, garlic, and savory spices all combine to create one amazingly delicious (and healthy) soup. Perfectly creamy with a hint of heat, this is a soup that will keep you coming back for seconds! The best part? It cooks in the crock pot and requires very little effort to prepare!
Last Tuesday it rained, and I made tomato soup.
You may be wondering why these two events are related, and why they are worth mentioning. A rainy day and some homemade soup, yawn, doesn’t sound too exciting, does it? Well, read on my friends because this was no ordinary day and this was certainly no ordinary soup!
Normally, a rainy day in mid August would be a real downer. However, we needed the rain so badly that this gloomy day was actually a welcome surprise. It wasn’t long before little rain drops began to spit and spatter on the dry ground. There’s something about a good rainy day that makes me reach for my crock pot, and this day was no exception. I had just picked a bunch of ripe tomatoes from the garden the day before, so I tossed them in the crock pot with some garlic and savory spices. All afternoon I watched the rain come down while the smell of delicious tomato soup filled my house, teasing me with the promise of an amazing dinner.
After lunchtime, the light drizzle turned into a steady rain, and then progressed to a downpour. By the time 4:00 rolled around and I had to make the hour long drive to pick our son up from Pre-K, the rain had turned into an all out monsoon. Water was no longer coming down in drops, it was falling from the sky in sheets! The air was saturated with water, seemingly coming from every direction. I stepped outside, braced myself, and made the 10 foot dash from the porch to my car. By the time I was seated in the driver’s seat, I was soaked from head to toe. Going back inside to change my clothes would be pointless, so I put the key in the ignition, turned my windshield wipers to their highest setting, and slowly pulled out of the driveway.
I didn’t get very far. What was once my quiet little street was now a lagoon with water up to the running boards on my SUV. Looking further up ahead I could see that even more water was pouring across the road and I knew there was no way I would make it all the way to our son’s school! I called Shaun and we agreed that it would be best for him to go instead of me (he has a big truck that can handle the rain better than my SUV). After a quick car seat switch-a-roo, he was on his way and I was able to put my anxieties to rest.
Or so I thought. Only a few short minutes passed before my phone rang. It was Shaun. Police were shutting down the only road that leads in and out of our neighborhood. Traffic was at a standstill and no one was getting into our out of the peninsula. Why? Because the road washed away. That’s right, washed away! All of the rain had caused a section about 7 feet wide to cave in.
Our 5 year old was still at school and we had no way of reaching him. Talk about a stressful situation! Fortunately, Shaun’s sister was able to pick him up just in time. Later that evening we got word that the road had reopened. Shaun jumped in his truck and headed off to pick up our son.
They returned home an hour later, soaking wet, tired, and absolutely starving! I put on my Super Mom cape and came to the rescue with a nice hot bowl of homemade tomato soup. Like magic, everyone seemed to calm down and unwind with every sip of soup. We were all weary, but having a delicious dinner together erased some of the day’s stress.
Looking back on that day, I am thankful. Thankful that everyone made it home safely, and thankful that I was able to bring some comfort to my family (especially the kiddos) during a stressful situation. News reports the following day indicated that our area had the rainiest single day on record since 1933! Parts of Anne Arundel County received over 10″ of rain in just one day!
Here’s a recap of the flooding from our local news media:
Baltimore-Washington D.C. Area Flooded By Record Rainfall (www.weather.com)
Now… on to the recipe!
Fresh Tomato Soup in the Crock Pot
12-15 Roma tomatoes
12 cherry tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
Pinch of caraway seeds
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Handful of fresh basil
1/2 cup half-n-half (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients (EXCEPT basil and half-n-half) into a crock pot.
2. Cover, and cook on high for 5 hours. Do not remove the lid, let the crock pot do it’s thing!
3. Once the soup has finished in the crock pot add the fresh basil and carefully puree it in a blender (in batches). If you are skipping the optional half-n-half, then you are finished! If you are choosing to add the cream, continue on to step #4.
4. Pour the pureed soup into a large stock pot. Slowly stir in the half-n-half until the soup reaches your desired creaminess. You made not need the full 1/2 cup, or you may choose to add more depending on your preference.
5. Serve with additional fresh basil, or stir in a spoonful of fresh pesto. Yum!