Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Search for the Perfect Tomato Soup pt 1

It should be no secret that I love tomato soup.

I LOVE TOMATO SOUP.

I ate the condensed Campbell's soup as a child (and in college...although I often added chili powder at that point).  I loved the Progresso Tomato Basil in high school.  Safeway has an amazing Creamy Tomato Bisque with just enough spice to make my nose run a little bit.  And most recently I have been grabbing these little Campbell's Tomato Parmesan Bisque drinkable soups- they are great for lunches at the hospital when I sometimes only have 10 minutes to eat.  Or on a day I needed to run an errand and ended up carrying my handy-dandy soup with me.

There are just two sticking points to this handy lunch plan:

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Now, as I have said in the past, I am not against this nutritionally...I am more against the pervasiveness and sneakiness with which this ends up in an appalling number of products.  
  2. Cost.  These handy meals (or parts of meals- this is not enough to call lunch alone) are around $2 each.  More than I prefer to spend on something I will eat every day.  That is $10 of our weekly budget for only a portion of my lunches.
So I am launching into a quest for perfect tomato soup.  Soup that tastes just as good as what I have found in a can/cuppy thing/plastic container from Safeway but that ends up being cheaper and better for me.

This is my first attempt:


It was from Mark Bittman's book: How to Cook Everything.  This was a recent purchase and I am very excited about many of the recipes therein.  Unfortunately....this soup didn't do it for me.  It was theoretically sound.  Saute some tomato paste, then saute some onions and carrots, add in canned tomatoes, then some chicken stock (homemade- hoorah!).  Then I added some Parmesan and some plain Greek yogurt for creaminess and blended that business up.  

It looked delightful.  And I thought it tasted pretty good when I dipped my finger in to test the amount of Parmesan and yogurt I was adding.  But it just didn't end up good.  Which is disappointing.  This recipe made 5 slightly-less-than-1-cup portions for lunches plus an additional 3.5 cups which I froze for later.  And I have to admit that these will probably all end up getting dumped down the sink.  Because, unfortunately, I just don't want to eat them.

Soon I will psych myself up enough to try another recipe.  Specifically, this one, from Eat Live Run.  She claims it will win over any Campbell's condensed hold outs.  I will be withholding judgement until after the first lunch attempt!

On the plus side:
Tomato paste in a tube!  THIS IS A REVELATION!  No more using 2 tbs from one of the tiny cans and then wasting the remainder!  I will never go back...

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