By Chef Domenica Catelli
Fall is here(ish)…is it “Fummer” or “Sall”? There are days this past week that I felt like it was finally here. Then there were a few days that reached the high 80′s and I was plunged back into summer. This can be a bit confusing in matters of wardrobe and menu choices. A tank top and watermelon or a sweater and pumpkin spice?
I was visiting family and friends in Houston and had the opportunity to stop by the TV studios of Great Day Houston (KHOU) and share a few cooking tips and recipes.
One of the recipes I demonstrated was my high-protein tomato and basil soup. I think it can be a perfect bridge between our traditional seasons. The tomatoes are the perfect memory of summer any time of year and, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere with a late tomato season you can even make this recipe with fresh tomatoes instead of canned.
This dish tastes great on a hot day as well as a cool afternoon or evening. Pair it with grilled salmon for a light dinner or with a grilled cheese for a rainy afternoon. What I love about this recipe is it is A) easy peasy B) takes one dish to clean up C) can travel to the office or school D) tastes decadent while being healthy!
I like to use fire-roasted organic tomatoes because I like the smoky flavor. You can also achieve something similar to this by using regular canned tomatoes and a bit of chipotle peppers in adobo. These can be found in the international section of almost all grocery stores. Warning: A little goes a LONG way! Use a 1/4 of a pepper for a smoky but not spicy flavor and add more if you like a kick.
If you want a more traditional tomato soup, stick with the regular (preferably organic) canned chunky tomatoes in juice. It’s okay if there are basil leaves in the can because you will be adding a bunch of fresh basil as well.
Another tip to this recipe is using an immersion blender to puree it. If you don’t own one you can purchase one at most kitchen stores, or Target, Walmart, etc. They are under $30 and they can be used from smoothies to soups to dressings. They are shaped like a stick with a small spinning blade on the bottom so you can immerse the blender into the pot of soup and blend. Don’t worry if you don’t have one; you can always use a regular blender and puree in a few batches. If you do use a traditional blender, don’t forget to pop the lid a bit and cover it with a towel and start off on a slow speed because hot soup will blow up in a blender — you could end up burning yourself and turning your kitchen red if you aren’t careful.
What makes this soup creamy is the addition of silken tofu. While this adds no apparent flavor it gives a hearty dose of protein, cholesterol fighting soy, and a “creamy” texture when blended.
Until next time, stay fresh and delicious!