This post was originally published in April 2010, which means Maverick (aka Harrison) was 9 years old. A few things have changed since then: He now towers over me and is most certainly more man than boy. His biceps are strong from lifting cinderblocks in the backyard (quarantine) and from doing pull ups on the pull up bar he built outside. Harrison is going into the US Army Infantry Division upon graduation and we could not be more proud of his dedication to protecting our country. He comes from a long line of veterans and his enlistment was not a surprise to us. He did his homework and researched every branch of the military before signing up. My heart may have skipped a few beats at his signing in ceremony last summer.
What I do know 10 years later is that Harrison is strong, athletic and funny. He is smart and kind when it is necessary. He is protective and honest. He is also polite and a very hard worker, I know this because I was lucky enough to spend time working with him at Solo Italiano.
The Army is lucky to get him, just like Lehigh was lucky to get Lollie (aka Sophia) but really Marco and I are the lucky ones. I often tell our children that I am grateful that God gave them to us. Has it always been simple and easy? No, nothing is really simple and easy except dry pasta and jarred tomato sauce. Did Harrison make mistakes that required redirection? You bet he did but mistakes, both big and small, are how we continue to grow and stay on the good path.
We had not planned for a what seems like it will be an eight week quarantine when we turned the calendar to 2020. I did not plan to be unemployed and living 24/7 with three teens, 2 dogs and an unfinished living room renovation but…We rise. We get dressed. We tackle projects and carry on with everyday life with masks on our faces. I completely recognize the necessity of masks and I certainly wear one, but they fill me with sadness because they are a visual reminder of how we are living, how the world has changed and how many people have died. So many people lost. I wonder how the economy at the local, state, national and world level will recover but still I am hopeful. I make my bed and listen to good music and make nourishing food for my family and others in need of a yummy meal. I write, color, garden, read, do yoga, pray, binge watch Netflix, play cribbage and walk the dogs in no particular order.
Marco tells me, “It is all going to be OK.” and he holds my hand and he hugs me and in those seconds it all feels right so I close my eyes and breathe. I try to remember to give myself the same kindness I extend to everyone else, sometimes it is hard to do. Breathe Kimmy. Breathe. Any hoo, this post was about sharing a really good recipe for tomato soup with carrots that I have been making for years so let’s get to it:
Original Post (April 18, 2010):
A few weeks back, I picked up a five pound bag of carrots with the intention of making carrot ginger soup. Maverick could not get over the size of some of the carrots announcing that he wanted to make soup, not just any soup but tomato soup with carrots and pasta (so much for my carrot ginger- harumph).
I will admit to you that I wasn’t too sure about the simple combination of carrots and tomatoes, nor was I very enthusiastic (carrot ginger boo hoo). Luckily, Maverick was eager enough for both of us. He peeled 5 giant carrots and sliced them into half moons with the focus of a surgeon.
Over the summer flavorista Jen had sent me her favorite recipe for tomato soup and we used this as the base. She originally got the recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. The recipe was very appealing because it was made with pantry items. It will surely be made again and again (sometimes with carrots).
Dare I say it? OK, yes. It might just be the most perfect homemade tomato soup. Ever. This tomato soup exemplifies the start with good ingredients and you end up with outstanding food theory of cooking.
I did use my immersion blender to smooth out the soup before adding the carrots but you could certainly go for a more rustic soup and skip the blending. Just crush the tomatoes with the back of your cooking spoon. Or put the tomatoes and onions in a blender for a whirl.
I garnished my bowl with some feta and cilantro, although any leafy fresh herb (chives, parsley, basil) or some arugula would have been a pleasant accent. Mint with a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt would also be tasty.
In retrospect, Maverick might have been onto something in his simplicity. This soup was very kid-friendly and very healthy, perfect for a Meatless Monday and most excellent for brown bag lunches. The carrots added a nice heft to the soup.
Tomato and Carrot Soup
very slightly adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook’s Spicy Tomato Soup
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups minced onion
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt, more to taste
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 (35-oz.) can whole Italian tomatoes
1 (32-oz) pkg. vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. honey
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into half moons
3 cups cooked pasta, like wagon wheels or rotini (or cooked rice for gluten-free)
fresh herbs (optional)
crumbled feta or grated Parmesan (optional)
In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the butter and olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, dill, pepper, tomatoes, broth and honey. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Use an immersion blender to process the soup until smooth.
Stir in the carrots and cover. Reduce the heat. Gently simmer the soup for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test the doneness on the carrots, they should be tender. Taste the soup, add a touch more salt if needed.
Stir in the cooked pasta. Garnish bowls with fresh herbs and cheese,if desired.