Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sharing a Bowl of Tomato Soup With Friends

The shadows are getting longer and the days are getting shorter and cooler.  Mighty oaks are showing a softer side as they put on their fall color.  Orangish red maples snuggle up beside the now yellow oaks.   Leaves are skittering about lawns and sidewalks.

I met my dear friends Diana and Jane for lunch last week.  We had hoped to enjoy one more meal this fall sitting outside at one of our favorite restaurants and we weren't disappointed.  Lucrezia's has a tree-shaded patio and when the weather is nice, dining al fresco is a perfect way for us to enjoy a delicious meal and catch up.

The area is protected by hedges and large pots of flowering plants.  We settled cozily into a corner and ordered three bowls of minestrone soup--the long-standing house favorite.  The salad of the day was a hearty broccoli, tomato and thick pieces of crispy bacon on a bed of greens and topped with a four-cheese (or was it five?) dressing.  It looked like fall on a plate and tasted so good that I failed to get a photograph!!

Sunlight dappled down on us through an umbrella of leaves.  It was a perfect few hours.

Last month, we had lunch together at my house.

I'd seen a recipe for a rustic tomato soup over at Once Upon a Plate and thought it sounded delicious.  It was!!  I made a few slight changes to make use of what I had in the pantry.   If you haven't visited Mari, you are in for a beautifully delicious treat!  

Tomato Soup inspired by Mari at Once Upon a Plate

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 slices of bacon cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, in small dice
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp each minced fresh rosemary and thyme
1 quart chicken broth
1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, slightly pureed in a blender or processor
2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  Heat oil in large pot and add bacon.  Saute until just crisp.  Remove and reserve.  Drain all but 1 tablespoon of oil from pan and add onions.  Saute until just translucent.  Add garlic and stir for one minute.
2.  Add broth, tomatoes, bay leaf and herbs.  Simmer over medium heat for about fifteen minutes.  Add beans, reserved bacon, salt and pepper and slowly simmer for about fifteen minutes longer.


French bread sliced about 3/4 inch thick on the diagonal
Grated asiago cheese, enough to thickly top the sliced bread

Place into a 325 degree over so the cheese will slowly melt as the bread toasts.

Place steaming soup into bowls and top with the cheesy bread.