Rustic Tomato and Pimiento Soup

Rustic Tomato-Pimiento Soup

The other day I found some absolutely beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes at the market and was inspired to make a big pot of tomato soup. Tomato soup is one of my favorite comfort foods and it is impossible to find my go-to version (Amy’s) here in San Miguel. I had originally planned to do a smooth version…peel and seed the tomatoes, blend it all after cooking…that version. But, as usual, last night we wanted a quick and easy dinner, so I decided to improvise and came up with a new one that is chunky, rustic, and very satisfying.
I didn’t peel or seed the tomatoes, and I didn’t blend. It took 30 minutes to get it all in the pot, and another 15 for it to simmer. I’m sure this could have been done faster, I just tend to be slow in the kitchen because cooking is like meditation for me.
As in all my recipes, measurements are not rocket science. A little more or less of anything is not an issue. And if you want to throw in something else, be my guest. Or, call me, and I’ll be your guest.

Start with about 4 T. of good olive oil in a soup pot, and put over medium heat. Coarsely chop one large sweet onion
Sautée in the oil while you chop 6 large cloves of garlic
And either 1 large or 2 medium red bell peppers, also chopped with seeds removed, and about 1/3 cup fresh basil.
Throw these in with the onion and continue to cook over medium flame,
while you cut away the parts of the tomatoes you don’t want in the soup.
I used about 12 medium tomatoes
Cut away stems, cores, any unattractive parts. Don’t worry about peels and seeds.
There you have it. Salt and pepper to taste.
I added about 3 cups water, brought to a boil, and then continued to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. You can judge time by how thick you want the soup to be. The thickness is controlled by how much water you add and how long you simmer the soup.
Garnish with a nice piece of cheese toast…whatever kind of cheese you like. You could also throw on a basil leaf if you have one left. I didn’t, so I sprinkled it with smoked paprika.
I served it with a side of cole slaw.
This serves 4. Next time I’m going to double it and have more left over.

Perfect Poaching….a close up of a beautiful thing.

Time for a little cooking around this house. Here is a beautiful meal that is wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or a light, easy dinner…Avocado Toast with an Egg. This one is so easy you don’t need a recipe. Just look at the picture. Toast your favorite bread, find a perfectly ripe avocado and mush it up, and top with a beautifully poached egg. Your side dish can be anything you like….here we have sautéed greens and mushrooms. It could have been chopped tomatoes, steamed asparagus, or no side at all.

For most people, poaching eggs is a great mystery. I pride myself on this skill, and that is the way I usually cook them. I recently poached 15 eggs at once (a pan on every burner) and that was quite a feat. I am enclosing a video for you about poaching eggs. (I have never tried the method using cling wrap.) Give egg poaching a trial and error. It may take a few errors to get it down, but once you do, it’s quite easy.       This is the link to the egg poaching video. And, I do have to add a disclaimer….the dish in this photo was prepared by my friends, Candace Keller and Arnold Myint. I just was around to eat it.