Growing your own herbs is one of those gifts that keep on giving. I began with dreams of a windowsill garden containing every herb I need before settling upon basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and dill. It has been a learning process, but very rewarding, especially as just about every dish I’ve cooked over the past few months has featured a homegrown herb and that includes the 2nd soup I made at Etno. My dill dried out much quicker than I anticipated so the harvest was limited. For about a month I was able to use homegrown thyme before it dried out. However, the basil and sage have been gifts that keep on giving. I have featured both in recipes for more than a couple months and am nowhere near in short supply. The plants that have survived have truly thrived, several of the basil plants are nearing 3 feet tall, the sage is almost overgrown, and the oregano is vibrant. Now I’m wondering if they will keep growing, or at least surviving, throughout the winter, seeing as how they’re perched on a windowsill that will be permeating the cold, bitter Chicago winter. “Time will tell me,” as Nick Drake sang once upon a time. Recipe was inspired by Ina Garten as seen here.
I was very glad to share this soup with 2 people, my best friend Mr. Chris Banta, who came up to visit on his wife’s birthday. It just so happened they got married just a few months back, so this was a pretty big deal, I even tried to convince him not to do such a foolish thing, but Mr. Banta has his ways. Also in attendance, my lovely and incredible girlfriend, who has inspired about 90% of the meals on this blog and is the sunshine of my life. On with the food!
Cream of Tomato & Basil: 4-6 servings
- 2 lb roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 small onions, diced
- 14 oz canned plum tomatoes with juices
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan, grated
Heat oven to 400. Toss tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place toms cut side up in a pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat pot over medium heat with olive oil. Saute onions and red peppers flakes until just beginning to brown. Add canned toms and their juices, basil, thyme, coconut milk, and roasted toms. Cook five minutes, add veggie broth, bring to a boil, then simmer 30-40 mins. Puree with hand blender. Season to taste. Strain to get rid of seeds and skins. Garnish with freshly grated parm.