A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

Rainy Day Comfort Food: Spicy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Toasts

This morning I woke up to a thunderstorm rolling in, which made me slide only deeper into the confines of my comforter. I love rainy mornings spent reading [or in this case, writing] in bed with a cup of my favorite English breakfast tea. Rainy days are the perfect outlet for discussing all things comforting.  Just the other day, I was still getting over my week long cold, and wanted nothing else but soup; tomato soup, to be exact. For me, there's nothing more comforting.

What's great about tomato soup is it's unbelievably easy to pull together in a pinch. My recipe uses only five ingredients [six if you've got fresh basil lying around!] and takes only 15 minutes from opening a can to warming up your tummy. [yes, I said tummy].

The key to this soup being so satisfying is the quality of the ingredients I use.  San Marzano tomatoes are a necessity.  There's nothing that compares to their rich flavor.  Plus, since they're canned, I have them in my pantry year round, ready to use at a moments notice. Just make sure you're getting the real deal.  I've accidentally purchased tomatoes that say 'San Marzano' on the label, but actually have in fine print that they aren't actually grown there.  [and it DOES make a difference!] Always look for the words 'D.O.P.' or 'certified' to make sure you're getting the good stuff.  [Here's a great article describing the difference]

This recipe is so foolproof, I could describe the entire thing in just a few sentences! Open a can of San Marzano Tomatoes and heat on medium in a pot. Grate 3 cloves of garlic into the tomatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon sea salt [if using iodized, use only 1/2 teaspoon], and a bay leaf. Heat for 10 minutes, uncovered. Taste the soup.  If it's too sour for you, add a pinch of sugar [or in my case, I add a teaspoon of agave].  Optional: if you like a hot and sour tomato soup, add a bit of fresh lemon juice to the mix!  Place the mixture in your blender and pulse until it's the consistency you prefer.  Optional: prefer things a bit creamy and rich? Add 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream [decadent but SO good!]. If you have fresh basil, add that into the blender as well! 

Tomato soup is required to have a grilled cheese sandwich alongside it.  Since I didn't have an great melting cheese on hand, I went for an alternative of parmesan toasts! Just as simple as the soup, all you need is a good crusty bread and good quality parmesan cheese.  Grate it on top of the bread, and place under the broiler [it takes 4-5 minutes in my oven, but every broiler is different!]. 

Remove when it's golden brown and the cheese dissolves into the warm bread. 

Cut into little batons [or strips if you will!] and dunk into your tomato soup thusly. 

Just looking at these photos is making me want to recreate this meal all over again! Things are only made better with a glass of red wine.  Rainy day comfort food? Oh yes.  I dare you not to try this one out for yourself!