Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Warming Up

Upon looking up a printable first grade world geography map via Google, evidently, I clicked on a site that infected our PC with something like 39 viruses. Beautiful! I mean, I hate the old bear anyway, but it is as old as our marriage, and the only thing that we have hooked up to a printer. It is also the way I get a lot of blogging done, in tiny pieces during snippets of time I find during the day while all three children happen to be simultaneously busy on a worksheet. Please let me reiterate how certain I am that homeschooling is not for me- not because I want to complain but because I lack presence of mind in regard to anything that is not present. That is to say, I forget that I hate or love or am badly effected or well effected by pretty much everything unless I am in the current state of being affected or effected (as the case may be). When I love George and am happy with George, which I am lucky to say is most of the time, I can't imagine why I am ever unhappy with George. But when I am mad at George, I just have no idea how we have ever gotten along and am profoundly afraid that our relationship will never be the same and that we have deep issues- all of this over him growing a beard (seriously, that was our last knock down drag out). When I am eating peanut M&M's by the handful and delighting in their delicious flawlessness, I think to myself that they are pretty much a staple food for all people everywhere and ponder how we can get them to the remote parts of the earth. But when I am doubled over in pain only a few hours later with a condition that George and I affectionately refer to as "the peanut hurt," I curse peanuts with all of their butters and confections and salty roasted savagery. So this digression is for me, and for you that you might remind me next time you hear me contemplate the continuation of our homeschool experiment (or see me eating a peanut product- or dairy product for that matter), our family is not a homeschool family. But to those who are, I applaud you. Seriously. Because whoa! So anyway, that was a random opening tangent that was originally meant to explain that, yet again, the post didn't post when I scheduled it and took me a few days to figure it out. I will go ahead and confess that I don't actually have the last two up, just picked out. And I'm only able to use the computer when George is home, which is never lately, but I'll get it up. I swear I'm not grumpy. I'm afraid this sounds like I am. I'm just rowdy tonight. So, here's the rest of the post that I wrote a long long time ago and scheduled to post, but then edited last week and thought I posted but apparently did not. I feel like a grandma. I have no idea where my computer literacy went!

Now that all the snow has melted, I feel sane again! It had really just been the last two weeks that have felt very much like Narnia under rule of the White Witch. It's not so bad as all that, but I am excited about the thaw. I don't think I realized quite how low I had been until it came and the kids went out to play and the sun shone and I felt so happy! I'm so looking forward to tulips and berries and sandals and even tomatoes. Okay, so I'm getting way ahead of myself, but it's coming! It probably doesn't make sense then to share a soup recipe. But it will get cold again, I'm sure. And anyway, who says forty degrees isn't cold? I do. I felt like 45 was warm yesterday! I went out in short sleeves without a jacket! Well, when it gets cold again, you'll have been to the grocery and be all set to make this with your favorite yummy grilled cheese.

This comes to us from that[favorite cooking magazine]-which-must-not-be-named. You know the one ;) I first had it when my friend Ami made it for me, who had (tragically) only ever had Campbell's tomato up to that point; and, after I raved about it and insisted she give me the recipe (and was it hard?), remarked, "it's one of those recipes where I feel like every surface in my kitchen is a mess after I make it." And it really is an all in experience the first few times you make it- as with all recipes from these fellows. But, after a half dozen times or so, you'll find a rhythm. I also learned from Ami that this doubles and freezes quite well. Clever girl, that one.

Tomato Soup - serves 4, but doubles and freezes well

2 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes, drained (juice reserved) and seeded
1 1/2 T dark brown sugar
4T unsalted butter
4 large shallots, minced
1T tomato paste
pinch of ground allspice
2T all purpose flour
1 3/4c. chicken broth
1/2c. heavy cream
2T brandy or sherry (optional)
table salt
cayenne pepper

- adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and hear oven to 450.
- line jelly-roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet with foil. spread tomatoes in a single layer on foil and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. bake until liquid is evaporated and tomatoes begin to color, about 30 minutes. let tomatoes cool slightly, then peel them off foil, transfer to small bow and set aside.
- heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming; add shallots, tomato paste, and allspice. reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, 7-10 minutes. add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined (about 30 seconds- I know, it took longer to read that!). gradually add chicken stock, whisking constantly. stir in tomatoes and juice and cover. increase heat to medium and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors (about 10 minutes).
-strain mixture into medium bowl. rinse out saucepan. transfer tomatoes and solids in strainer to blender or food processor. add 1 cup strained liquid and puree until smooth. place pureed mixture and remaining strained liquid in saucepan. add cream and heat over low until hot (about 3 minutes). off heat, stir in brandy or sherry and season to taste with salt and cayenne. serve immediately.


annie said...

I had forgotten all about this tomato soup recipe. It is the best! I think I'll have to make it -- just as soon as I'm done with all of the cupcakes I'm doing for Nathan's auction.

Thanks for the popcorn tutorial, too. We pop lots of corn on the stove top, but before now, I had never thought to really think about how I do it. I think that oil amount is crucial. I'm going to try it with the amount that you suggest next time I make it.

Hope y'all are well!

Abby said...

I just want to leave this here, a few days later, that I made this yesterday and used an immersion blender instead of the whole straining it and doing batches in the food processor deal and it turned out great. What a time saver!!!

Anonymous said...

Miss you Abby! When will you be visiting Saint Louis again? --Annie H.

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