Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Knitter's Christmas

Dear Mom,
Being sympathetic compatriots in the holiday pressure to Get Things Finished, my fellow knitting friends and I decided to postpone our Christmas gift exchange. So instead of December 25th, we had our "Christmas" on January 25th.
The variety of gifts selected and hand crafted is testament to the kindred spirits I am blessed to call friends.

Hand made ornaments that look like stained glass.  Embroidered linens. A scrap book of memories and recipes. Padded hangers with knitted covers.

Hand woven dish towels and hand made soaps, lotions and bath salts.

Bonnie's honey and a set of adorable sheep that we've divided to share. That is Aiden, Finn, Bartley and Liam.
And hand felted chickadees. Mine is perched in the bathroom in front of the mirror where we can appreciate a full view.
Along with our friendship and fiber, food is an important ingredient. I served Roasted Tomato soup and grilled cheeses sandwiches for our "Christmas" lunch. I won't claim to be a good cook, but rather a person who cooks with good recipes. And this soup is the best tomato soup I've ever tasted, has never failed to impress those I make it for, and is worth every bit of effort to make. I've even had friends in need of comfort ask me to make them some of this soup. I found the recipe on Contessa.
As a Knitter's Christmas gift, here it is....

Roasted Tomato Soup 
6-8 servings

3lbs. plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 c + 2 T olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 t black pepper
2 c chopped yellow onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can canned tomatoes with juice
4 c fresh basil leaves
1 t fresh thyme leaves
1 qt chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the tomatoes together with 1/4 c olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on baking sheet ( I used my broiler pan) and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8 qt stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with 2 T olive oil, butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown.
Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. 
Add the oven roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.
Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.
Pass through a food mill fitted with  the coarsest blade.
Taste for seasonings. 
Serve hot or cold.

As with most soups, this soup tastes even better the next day. It freezes well and I've made a note on my calendar to make and freeze this soup with the abundance of garden tomatoes and fresh herbs I'll have at the end of the summer.