Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Feeding the kid in me

Lately I have been craving foods that I would normally eschew for the ten and under set: fish sticks, boxed mac and cheese, applesauce...

I'm not sure of the biological relevance of such a craving; maybe there is something my growing baby finds useful in bright orange dehydrated cheese. Most likely not. I like to think it has something to do with revisiting my own childhood in preparation for creating a new one for my little peanut: a kind of culinary nostalgia akin to unpacking and cooing over your own outmoded baby clothes.

So while I'm revisiting my developing years, and attempting to keep my developing baby well nourished, I'll try to sneak in as much wholesomeness as my juvenile self will tolerate.

Dinner tonight will be Tomato Soup (actually, Bisque, but don't tell the kids) and Grilled Cheese (on multi-grain bread.)

Tomato Bisque
serves 4

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved
1 Tbs dried basil leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy cream
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and garlic, stirring often until softened and fragrant. Add tomato liquid.

In a large bowl, use hands to crush tomatoes and release juices. Add tomatoes and juices to pot.
Turn heat to high and add basil, red pepper and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 minutes to 1 hour (the longer the simmer, the more concentrated the tomato flavor.)
Remove from heat and blend with an immersion or stick blender until smooth.
Alternatively, you can blend in batches in a tabletop blender, making sure to do so carefully and vent for steam release.
Return to low heat and stir in heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. If it's too thick for your liking, slowly stir in warm water until it's the proper consistency--it should be hearty, but not 'eat with a fork' hearty.

Serve with crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.