But I just wasn't feelin' it this year. It was such a good summer that I wasn't ready to let go. I was clinging to July while sliding into October. I mean, we had one sunny day after another. A bumper crop of berries. I grew attached to the blue and green. I wasn't ready for the gold and brown and burnt orange.
Or at least I wasn't ready until I spied this post about canning up some tomato soup. I've never canned soup before, have you? All the sudden I had visions of dunking grilled cheese sandwiches into homemade tomato soup all fall and winter long. Why, I might even be curled up on the couch reading a good book while dunking that sandwich. And suddenly I had the bug: the autumn bug.
I was looking at the evening sun burning on the golden leaves in a whole new light.
My cup ranneth over in the produce section at the store I stopped by on the way home. The organic aisle looked wonderful and everything was selling for a song. Lovely slender stalks of celery with crisp leaves still attached. Juicy bell peppers with flawless skin. A beautiful bunch of parsley.
I knew I was too lazy to go home and peel fresh tomatoes so instead I bought a few cans of those fire-roasted diced tomatoes (also on sale) and headed home for some soup-making and fall-leaf-admiring. In between soup-simmering and photo-taking, I got in a few games of fetch, much to the pooch's delight.
this recipe for inspiration and made changes as I went along to suit my whims and the ingredients I had on hand. What I liked best about this recipe is that it's chock full of fresh ingredients. And not only is it a tasty and filling soup, it could also sub as a pasta sauce.
And come on now, doesn't it look smashing with a few roughly chopped celery leaves sprinkled on top?
Here's my rather loosey-goosey version of the original recipe. It's sure to be different the next time I make it. I'll be sure to report back on how the canning goes. But trust me, you can't go wrong with this version. Chances are, you'll be trying to lick the ladle which is difficult, lemme tell you.
Garden Fresh Tomato Soup
Serves four if you serve it alongside grilled cheese sandwiches.
A glug or two of olive oil
Half of a large onion, chopped fine
2 stalks of celery, chopped along with the leaves
1/4 of a green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 of a red bell pepper, chopped fine
One large carrot, chopped fine
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
3 whole cloves
One bay leaf
3 cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T brown sugar
1/4 c flour
Heat oil in a stock pot or large skillet. Add the onion, celery, bell peppers, carrot, garlic, parsley, dried herbs, cloves, and bay leaf. Saute until tender but still a little crisp. Add the tomatoes (don't bother draining them) and red pepper flakes and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I used an immersion blender and pureed the soup just a little to thicken it up and make it not so chunky. But I still left some chunks. You could do the same in a blender or food processor.
Stir brown sugar and flour together in a little bowl then add a couple of spoonfuls of soup and stir until a thick paste is formed. Stir the paste into the soup and simmer for another 15 minutes or so until the flavors blend and the soup thickens a little.
Ladle it into bowls, sprinkle with parsley leaves, and be careful not to bite into one of those pesky whole cloves!