When I was visiting my father, we went to old town San Diego. Many of the buildings have been turned into small museums. It is the kind of place where you could picture it 150 years ago. Mine kind of place. I loved it. My father gifted me with these framed butterflies.
Something I will always treasure. I had a hard time picking a spot, for you want a place that will get no sunlight or the butterflies will fad. I finally found a spot but it felt a bit bare. I remembered these paper frames and thought they would be perfect.
I used roofing paper. It is my favorite paper for crafting and I keep a roll in my basement. That, a ruler and sharpie was all I used. The hardest part (which was not that hard) was the measuring of the paper. I attached the paper to the wall with little bits of tacky wax. Simple, simple but I love it.
Okay do not laugh at me, I am 51 years old, I have been cooking since I was 10 and I have never made cream of tomato soup. I guess I thought it would be like the canned stuff, which I am not found of but I decided to give it a try. I am so glad did because it has become a family favorite. I looked around and tried a few recipes but decided to simplify the recipe as much as possible. There is no roux, not straining out seeds and no chicken broth in this recipe. It really is about two things: tomatoes and cream. A perfect marriage!
My favorite canned tomato is San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. The flavor is rich, deep and there is no tinny, overly acidic taste. Using heavy cream instead of whipping cream or half and half is important too. Heavy cream contains 36 to 40 % more milk fat and will give you a much richer tasting soup. I do not add fresh herbs until the end, to keep the flavors bright. This soup only takes half an hour to make and is very satisfying on a cold winter day.
Simple Cream Tomato soup
Serves 4-6 people (maybe 8 if serving really small bowls)
2, 28oz canned tomatoes (can be whole or chopped, does not matter)
1 whole onion, cut into small cubes
3 TBL butter
½ cup water
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 TBL honey
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Fresh thyme or basil (or both)
In a large soup pot add tomatoes, onions, butter, water, garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium/low heat for 20 minutes. Then with a blender stick (or in a blender) puree tomatoes until smooth. Put tomatoes back in soup pot. Add cream, honey and herbs. Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Tastes and adjust. See notes about the honey.
Enjoy, we like this with grilled smoked mozzarella sandwiches and a big simple salad.
1. As stated above use the best tasting canned tomatoes. If using San Marzano tomatoes read the can and make sure they are actually from Italy. I get mine at Trader Joes.
2. When soup is finished if it tastes to acidic try adding a bit more honey.
3. This is a thick soup, you can thin it out with water or more cream if you prefer. It is rich but I would rather have a small bowl of rich soup with a big salad, than the other way around.
4. Leftovers can be used as a sauce on pasta or veggies. It can also be frozen.
Most of you know I have a large kitchen. Two rooms in fact! One room was a breakfast nook but I turned it into a baking pantry. I suspected having a space with all my grains, equipment and supplies, organized and easy to reach would inspire me to bake more and I was right.
Now I realize I am a lucky girl to have such a big kitchen and most of you do not have a whole room just for baking but hopefully some of my organization tips will help and inspire you.
My latest idea is to take my whisks, rolling pin, baking spatulas, etc. and put them all in an old silver urn I was gifted. I found when I was in the middle of baking, my hands covered in flour, it was hard to open a draw and search through it for what I forgot to grab before I started baking. This way it is right where I can see it without getting dough all over everything. Everything easy to find, easy to grab. Plus it looks so pretty, an extra!
A few other baking organization tips.
1. I have 2 sets of baking cups and spoons. One set for wet, one for dry.
2. I buy in bulk and keep everything in glass jars on shelves, so I can easily see everything.
3. I group my gluten free on one shelf.
4. I have 2 sifters, one for flour and one for coco powder, so I do not have to rinse the coco one.
5. If you have room a low, long chest of drawers makes perfect storage for cookie sheets and pans.
6. I find being able to see everything helps me. So I try to make art out of my storage. Pretty and useful is my goal in my kitchen!