Monday, September 3, 2012

tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers, oh my! Fresh tomato soup with a jar of pickles

I spent a lot of the past couple days doing some cooking, because I have enough produce sitting around to feed a small army!  It seems like just a tiny bit of excess veggies makes an enormous amount of food, too!  I made a batch of fresh tomato soup and it makes about 6 - 8 cups of soup, but only uses up like 5 tomatoes!  Not helpful if you have a benchful of them!!

So I got out my Mad-Cooking apron (not really, but is sounds like a super hero cape, so I'm going with that visual) and began a cooking spree that has been 3 days in the making.

I will reshare my fresh tomato soup recipe here, along with some in process pix, and also the steps to making Bread and Butter pickles.  I LOVE both of these recipes so much!  In my next installment I will give the rough directions to 2 new salads that I made this weekend....  They are pretty darn great as well, but no step by step!

Alright- to start with, if you don't have a compost pile, you will certainly be able to start one if you make this soup and the pickles, not to mention the Bean salad and zucchini salad that will follow shortly.  My goodness, I can't tell you the number of times my icecream pail filled up over the course of the last few days- wait that is a lie.  I CAN tell you that it is 5 times in the past 3 days.  Not that I am counting.  But I was, which I hate, because I really don't care to count things, until someone points something countable out, and then I am off.......   Oy.  Never mind.

Fresh tomato soup is a wonderful base recipe that can be altered and adjusted and added to as you like. It started off as a simple, summer, supper soup (love that alliteration, don't you??) but has taken on a life of its own as I share it with others. It is so interesting to hear what people do to this recipe.  Variations and alterations are a natural here, and I'd LOVE to hear what your idea is!  My friend Laurie, the Mad-Science teacher, has added barley to her version and my friend Luann, was the one who introduced me to the idea of using whatever veggie you have hanging out in the frig.  This particular version has sweet corn in it, but the original recipe is my favorite- carrots, onions, red peppers and celery.  OF course with tomatoes.

The tomatoes were really nice this year AND it managed not to frost in August!!!  YAY
 Dice up your nice fresh tomatoes to equal 4 cups - this recipe EASILY doubles.... or more if you have a big enough pan!
I don't peel the skin, but you may if it bothers you!
 I bought organic celery and peppers since they are part of the "dirty dozen" veggies when it comes to pesticide residue. Carrots and onions are from the garden and ARE organic!
Of course I washed the carrots better!!!

Dice the veggies
 Saute and then simmer the veggies in a big pan for about 15 min.

 I added some corn to this batch since there was some left over from a meal.
 Add the broth, tomatoes, curry, sugar and salt/pepper.  Cook about 10 more minutes.

 Add flour and water mixture and cook until thickened.

Fresh Tomato Soup

2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 small chopped onion
1/2 c. green (or red sweet) pepper
1/4 cup butter (I use 2 - 3 Tablespoons olive oil)
Stir frequently, until veggies are soft- about 15 minutes.

4 cups chicken broth** I use vegetable broth
4 cups diced tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar (add more or less depending on your taste and the flavor of the tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat for 10 minutes, on medium low.

Mix 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup of flour.  Add to soup, heat until thickened.  Freezes well.
*** Additions- you can add almost any kind of grain, veggie, pasta or probably even meat if you want, but why would you spoil it with that!  
Barley is fantastic in this, as is any veggie such as corn, green beans, peas and I probably would add beans as well. 

Bread and Butter Pickles

My mom made pickles that took 2 weeks to make!  I do not have that kind of ambition!!  One of my aunties made bread and butter pickles and they were so darn good, and way faster.  My mom's 2 week long sweet pickles are fantastic, don't get me wrong, but I had to help make them and it is a lot of work. We just don't eat that many pickles, this works great.  So I consulted several recipes including the one in the Freezing and Canning book that my mom used for her creations.  But I found a streamlined recipe on The Smitten Kitchen website.  Deb has really great food there, and this pickle recipe was nice and small and quick.  And I knew how to do it already, so it was a snap.

Slice the cucumbers very thinly

Same thing with the onion!!  Try to avoid the fumes!

Bowl of cukes!  My mom's big Corningware bowl

I love this bowl, reminds me of mom every time I see it in my cupboard

Mix salt with cukes and onions

Mix sugar, vinegar, spices together 

Coriander seed, Turmeric, Mustard seed and celery seed

Boil together until it is really a beautiful gold!

Adapted from the 

Makes 4 cups of pickles, filling a 1-quart jar
1 pound cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pickling salt
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (if ground, use 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions. Add to vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. You can store the pickles in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the frig. 

This post took me all day to do!!!  CRAZINESS

Until next time, be a joy giver!


  1. Gosh! Those both look good! Any idea if you could can the soup in a hot water bath?

    1. I'm not sure! It does freeze well!