Creamy Tomato Soup with Zucchini “Croutons”

tomato soup

courtesy Fine Cooking



Quite a few variations are permissible – even encouraged – on this delicious tomato soup, which happens to be one of many wonderful recipes from Danielle’s cookbook Happily Hungry. Using butter to saute the veggies provides creaminess, but olive oil would work fine for a vegan version. Same with the heavy cream, vs coconut beverage – you could also try it with regular coconut milk (lite for less fat), but you’ll get a stronger coconut flavor.  We like this version because the tomato shines through – even in the middle of winter! When good garden-fresh tomatoes aren’t available, we love the San Marzano canned tomatoes, but if you have a favorite of your own, go for that.  And if you don’t happen to have canned whole tomatoes on hand, try using plain old diced tomatoes – or stewed with basil. The zucchini twist is fun and provides something to chew on as you sip this rich, satisfying soup, originally adapted from Fine Cooking.

6 T unsalted butter
3 medium zucchini (about 1½  lb.), cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C chopped yellow onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Three 15-oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 t agave nectar
1½ C homemade or low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth, more as needed
½ C dry white wine (may substitute water or broth)
1 C heavy cream or coconut beverage
½ C fresh basil or parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish

Melt 4 T of the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and ½  t salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is crisp-tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini mixture to a medium bowl.

Melt the remaining 2 T butter in the stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add carrots and tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add 2 C  broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the tomato mixture cool slightly. Purée the soup in the pot with a hand blender or in batches (with the top vented) in a regular blender. If you use a regular blender, return the soup to the pot. Add the cream. Bring to a boil and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir the zucchini into the soup. Garnish each serving with some of the chopped fresh basil.

Easy Leftover Turkey Soup

It’s nearly a week since T’G, but the coughing and sneezing are  getting worse, so that oversized pot of turkey broth, which has been smelling so fabulous every day that it gets put back on the back burner and brought to a boil, is strained and defatted.  Now it’s going to good use.

Of course, just sipping hot broth does the body a world of comfort – it clears the head and soothes the stomach and makes you want to lie down on the couch in front of the woodstove and go to sleep even when “Good Wife” reruns are on.  But what if you added some of that leftover turkey?  It’s going fast – the healthy are still into making sandwiches and enchiladas.  And maybe a bit of rice?  That’s left over from the rice and beans we had on Saturday night.  Of course no self-respecting turkey soup is complete without the trinity – carrots, onions, celery.  And the finishing touch? The magic that makes it special for the flu-ridden? Lemon juice.  Aaaahhhhh.  SO good it makes me want to get sick just so I can have it all to myself. Read More

Pumpkin, Shiitake and Chestnut Soup

These are three ingredients that just seem to belong together, like the Three Little Pigs.  Each brings something deep and comforting and their flavors play off each other beautifully.  Add to that marsala and a touch of maple syrup and you have a great fall soup. We used a dry marsala, so the soup definitely benefitted from the maple syrup at the end.  If you use a sweet marsala, you may find you don’t need it at all.  If you don’t have marsala, try a medium-dry sherry instead.  You want something that has a nutmeg-y flavor. Read More

Shiitake Bisque

Mind you, this is not a “cream of mushroom soup,” a la Campbells, or anyone else.  This is a sophisticated, gourmet mushroom bisque, better than most soups you’ll ever get in a restaurant, certainly company-ready.  This is a vegan version of the original Hungarian Mushroom Soup, which we demoed some years ago, recipe below.

Read More

Hungarian Mushroom Soup



Our favorite go-to soup for the fall season when shitakes and other mushrooms varieties are at their best at farmers markets and supermarkets.  If you can find the nutty, woodsy saffron-hued chanterelles from the Pacific Northwest, throw some of those is for added flavor.

Read More