Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mediterranean Spiced Creamy Tomato Soup out of my Crock Pot

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This is so good tasting, it deserves a blog post...

This is so easy, I am embarrassed to do a blog post.

Just 4 ingredients.

4 TBS Sugar
BIG BAG of Tomatoes (They were a gift, I didn't weigh them, but they filled my crock pot... 3 or 4 pounds probably)
1 brick of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup of "Not your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice Mix

I know I continually extol the virtues of making your own spice mix.  Cheap, easy but mostly convenient.  I have three basic mixes, one is a salt  substitute, one is a spicy Cajun mixture and this fabulous mix of Mediterranean herbs, citrus flavors and spices.  When you make the mix in bulk, it is just so handy to have around.  Making eggs in the morning, a pinch on top will zing 'em up.  Baking bread for the week, a couple TBS in the dough and you have an herb bread...

Or, a little hand full in the soup and you have a Mediterranean Tomato Soup.  Makes it so easy.  Click HERE for my recipe for "Not your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice Mix.

Alright, I have seen dozens of recipes for tomato soups.  Some are simple, some are complicated, some use lots of extra ingredients that I just don't see needing (why the chicken stock, when the tomatoes break down to liquid so easy?).  Me, all I want is a rich sweet tomato taste, the luxurious texture of the cream and just a little something extra on the tip of my tongue from the herbs.  Everything else people want you to add is just fluff.  Me, I'm a simple guy, sweetened tomatoes, cream cheese and herbs... All I need.

And, when I can put it in a crock pot in the morning, and have soup in the afternoon with so little effort...

All is right in the universe!  Well, the universe that is my Cul de Sac.

 Here's what I did...

Peal the skins and quarter the tomatoes.  Removing the skins of the Tomatoes is an easy thing to do. Get a pot of water boiling, and have a bowl with ice water handy. Cut an X into the top (not the vine end, the other end) just enough to break the skin. Plunge them into the boiling water for only 15 seconds. You want the outside to cook just a shade, but not so hot that the inside starts to cook. Remove and plunge into the ice bath. The skin peals easily now.

I recently did a post with several photos showing how easy this important step is.  Click HERE to see all those photos.

Next, dump all those tomato quarters into your crock pot.

Cover with a bit of sugar.

Set the dial to medium, cover and go about your business.  There were several options I had to fill my time while the crock pot did it;s magic...  Jackass 3-D was opening yesterday; of course, on-line poker was always an option; and, it's 5 o'clock somewhere, so getting stinking drunk was a possibility.  You may have other things you want to get done, change diapers, eat bon-bons while Dr Phil fixes all your emotional problems or vacuum and dust the house.

Although actually, Jackie and I went garage saling.  I am a wild and crazy guy.

And what luck, I found a hand held blender for only $3!!!  But better than that, I talked the woman down to only $2.  Sometimes, the thrill of the "deal" is more fun than the thrill of the find.

But not this time.

After a grueling 3 or 4 hours of pawing through other people's crap, we returned and I got to use my new kitchen plaything!  By that time, the tomatoes had broken down to almost completely liquid.  I just immersed my new hand blender and blended away.  Whoo Whoo, how did I ever live without one?  Actually, if you have a regular blender, or a food processor, you can just work in batches and pulse away until the tomatoes are completely mushed.

Strain the goo to remove the seeds and any pulp that was not blended.

OK, everything back to the crock pot, crank the sucker to high and add the brick (4 ounces) of cream cheese.  After about 10 minutes to soften it up, I used my immersion hand blender again to blend the cheese into the tomatoes... and we have creamy tomato soup.

Toss in the herbs and we have Mediterranean Spiced Creamy Tomato Soup.

And if you get up real early (me, 4 AM), you have time to bake a loaf of ENG BREAD before you go garage saling.  ENG BREAD is perfect for dipping in this soup!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!


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