Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year (and dinner the day after)

I had planned to write about our New Year's Eve dinner yesterday. We really amused ourselves, putting together a huge menu, and then cooking it. But tonight, after spending a day taking it easy, and really rather tired of rich holiday food, I think I'll write about tonight's dinner instead. I really love tomato soup. Tomato sauce is one of the first things I remember cooking, and it's so perfectly versatile. Tomato soup is more or less a diluted tomato sauce, with some garnish, but lately we have developed a tomato soup which is somewhat different from the tomato sauces I usually make. We ate it with a slice of nutty bread (leftover from yesterday) covered with tasty Danish (I think) cheese (Sorte Sara) quickly grilled in the oven. This tomato soup becomes really tomatoey, but is still somehow fluffy. It is made something like this:

Canola oil to cover the bottom of your pan
Two yellow onions
Garlic to taste
Pinch of dried chili pepper powder or cayenne pepper
1-2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
One bottle of pureed (?) tomatoes (the Swedish word is "passerade" - I really need to get a culinary cross language dictionary) (The bottles we find here are about 700 grams.)
Salt and white pepper to taste
Dried oregano to taste
1-2 tsp honey
10 or so sun dried tomatoes - the dry kind, not the one soaked in oil
Either 1/2-1 dl of cream, or 1 egg yolk and 1 Tbsp cream

Start with rehydrating the dried tomatoes by putting them into a small container and pour some boiling water over them. Leave them like that for some time. Meanwhile, saute finely minced onions and garlic in the canola oil. Add chili powder and tomato paste and allow to get hot. Pour in the contents of the tomato bottle and add water until a good consistency is reached. Especially if using an egg yolk in the end, the soup can be rather runny. Season with salt and pepper, and add some oregano and a little honey. Allow the soup to boil for some time. Take the dried tomatoes out of the water (I usually add the soaking liquid to the soup) and mince them about as finely as the onion (equal, and small, size of the bits and pieces give a nice feel in the mouth in this soup). Add them to the soup and let it simmer some more. (For example, spend this time by making grilled cheese sandwiches to go with the soup.) Finally, either add some cream, take the pot of the heat and whisk around so that the soup cools down a bit, or, if you happen to have a lonely egg yolk lying around in the fridge (we had tonight) use a fork to stir it together with a little cream. Take the pot of the heat and whisk it around a bit to cool a little. Add the egg-cream mixture slowly while whisking. VoilĂ . Tomato soup with tomato and some more tomato.

I usually make this soup with just cream, as I said above, the egg yolk was mainly to use up a egg yolk leftover from yesterday. The reason that it came into being was a granita that we had for dessert today. Yesterday we had it between courses, but the recipe yielded quite a lot even though D. was halving it when he made it, so some "champagne" granita desserts are about to happen this week. Quotation marks are because though the recipe called for champagne, D. used a rosé cava instead. He also used red orange juice, and the result is a sweet looking pink granita, quite unlike the icy elegant one pictured together with the recipe.

Oh, and as you might notice, I have pictures!! It's not that I finally managed to find the stupid camera cable (it's still gone) but Santa (or rather D.) was awfully nice to me and bought a far to expensive Christmas gift, so I have a nice new camera. Now I only need to learn to use it. And to fix some useful background for my pictures, just letting whatever part of our often messy kitchen act as a background just isn't such a good idea. :)

OK, so that's it for today. Maybe I'll get back to writing more about the things we amused ourselves with yesterday, but for today, tomato soup will have to do...

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