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Thursday, August 6, 2009

tomato soup and grilled wookey hole

i excitedly took rob to the store a couple of months ago, shortly after we'd arrived in seattle, to point out a cheese i thought we should try. our favorite in portland was a cave-aged gruyere, and this was a cave-aged cheddar that had caught my eye.

me: "here's what i wanted to show yo--"
rob: "whu-- whu-- WOOKEY HOLE?!"

i hadn't even noticed the name of it. true, it isn't spelled like the brethren of chewbacca, but it's become a household joke just the same. so, when it came time for tomato soup night, i obviously wanted to include a grilled w-w-wookey hole sandwich.

my plan was flawed in two ways-- first, the bread i made on monday and used for the sandwich was full of herbs and flavors of it's own, meant to be a dipping bread, and the cheese was incredibly rich. next time, it's a milder bread or a milder cheese. second, the only tomato i had was a beloved brandywine. i'd rather have done something with it that showcased it's raw, glorious flavor, but i wanted soup, and this one was ripe.

roasted tomato soup
(revised from roasted tomato soup with garlic, bon appetit, feb 1998)

3 lbs tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
pinch dried crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken stock
chopped fresh basil to serve

cut tomatoes in large chunks (in half longways if using plum varieties), drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour.

transfer tomatoes and juices to food processor or blender and chop, keeping a bit chunky.

saute onion and garlic over med-high heat until translucent (don't burn the garlic!) and add herbs, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes. stir in chicken stock. bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. adjust seasonings.

serve topped with fresh chopped basil.

this soup is really beautiful in the bowl! i'll probably roast some tomatoes and freeze them so i can have this soup in the cooler, wetter months when it is sure to be extra appreciated.

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