It makes you put pineapple in the “dessert” category, next to mousse, brownies, cheesecake, and all my other currently forbidden favorites. In my normal life, fruit is only considered dessert when (a) dipped in chocolate, (b) soaked in booze, or (c) as a topping for luscious pound cake. Maybe all three. Now that’s a hat trick.
It makes you crave almond butter like it’s oxygen. I didn’t even like almond butter before we started, and now if I had to choose between the Booze Hound and a jar of almond butter on a deserted island, I’d actually pause to consider my options.
And it makes you cook soup in 90-degree weather.
I’m a card-carrying meat-eater, but even sometimes a meat-lover goes on overload. I think the BH and I have consumed an entire Wilbur-worth of bacon, and it’s only week 4. Don’t you think about taking my bacon away from me, but I needed to illustrate the point.
I need a break from meat for a meal. Otherwise this might show up on my front porch.
But my alternative needed to be fabulous (of course) and it needed to have a decent amount of fat (and fiber, but fat is much more exciting) to fill us up. Where do you go for fabulous (and fattening)?
Last week I went through both of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (Back to Basics and How Easy Is That?) and tagged the Challenge-friendly items. To my extreme excitement, they were plentiful, not unlike the supply of bacon in our freezer.
To break the meat monotony, I made Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup. Very filling, very luscious, very easy. BC uses a food mill, but I used a VitaMix to puree all those gorgeous tomato seeds to add body to the soup. Did I just call tomato seeds gorgeous? Must be the Challenge talking. I’m sure if cavemen had a VitaMix, they would have used it, too.
I drew a little crime victim chalk mark on my plate to illustrate where the crusty baguette should be, but I then filled the space with my favorite tuna salad and I almost forgot all about the baguette. Almost. But now I’m thinking about it.
Even though I broke a sweat while sweating the aromatics, this soup is worth it. It’s rich, but not heavy. The carrots, fresh tomatoes and cream make it sweet, so I sprinkled the finished product with sea salt. So good! Enjoy! Eat it with baguette and think of me!
Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
3 T good olive oil
1 1/2 c chopped red onion (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 lbs ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (approx 6 large)
1 T tomato paste
1/4 c packed chopped fresh basil leaves
3 c chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 c heavy cream
Julienned fresh basil leaves or snipped chives for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sweat for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.
2. Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill or blend in a blender. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and garnish with basil or chives.