We’re having a Saveur weekend, meaning B’s making recipes from this month’s issue of Saveur. To me, it also means everything should be elegant and lovely. We should eat our food listening to jazz and sipping on wine. Okay, maybe not all of that. Anyway, mostly it has been elegant and lovely (or at least comfortable accompanied by lovely rain and misty skies), but we did have a not so elegant moment before B made the tomato soup this evening.
The scene was that I had been running around most of the afternoon trying to find the ingredients for the two Saveur recipes we decided to try this weekend. First, I went to the small grocery store: rookie mistake, I know. I should know better. I’ve been in this situation many times. B writes something on the grocery list, and I have no idea what it is, and it turns out it can’t be found at many of the smaller grocery stores. I got everything on the list except the darn first item, fava beans. B had even warned me of this, but I still dared to hope and went to the smaller HEB (our local grocery store) so that I could avoid the larger crowd at the larger grocery store.
I looked in the canned vegetables isle and in the frozen foods, but they were nowhere. Finally, I buckled and decided to ask someone. Being who I am, I decided to ask the kind employee in the nail polish isle if she knew if they had fava beans. My reason for asking her instead of someone in the produce or food section was simply that she was in the least crowded area of the store on a Saturday afternoon. I liked that; it was like a bubble of silence and peace where she was. Needless to say, she did not know. Hence, began the calling on the walkie talkie she was carrying, followed by me running after her (she was literally running through the store and she was fast; she definitely earned my respect ) to someone at the register who tried to help for a moment but then pointed us elsewhere the moment I had finally caught up to her. We began running again. However, this time I got stuck behind a couple seemingly content to stroll through the store on a busy Saturday afternoon. Really people? I become unnecessarily critical on my Saturday afternoon shopping sprees, forgive me. So, I just craned my neck and tried to keep up with one of the nicest, most devoted employees I’ve come across as she ran straight to the produce section. Ugh, right back to the busiest section of the store.
At produce, I was passed on to another employee after I thanked the first employee who had assisted me. This man turned out to be as devoted an employee as the first. We went from the produce to the dried beans (duh, I hadn’t even thought of that) until finally I convinced him it was okay. As a last resort he said to me sheepishly, “I really hate to recommend this, but you might try the HEB plus up the road.” I took his advice and dared to go to the HEB plus only because I knew I would not have to walk around the crazy Saturday afternoon crowd with a cart. I had no better luck there, but if I wrote all about that and the hours I debated buying a cupcake book for the blog (I finally decided against it), I would lose all the readers who might still be reading at this point. Anyway, I ended up buying some baby lima beans, which are not the same, and this is where the inelegant part of the day that I began the blog with happened.
I walked in the apartment tired and worn out. B was sitting at the table studying for his exams this week. I put the groceries up and asked him, “So how are we making the tomato soup tonight?” Not that I was really going to have much of a part in making the tomato soup; I just like to say “we,” so it feels like we’re doing an equal amount of work, which, with my grocery store fiasco, I would say we did equal amounts of work today. “I’m going to open a can, pour it in pot, and heat it up,” he said and smiled at me. Well, that was about all I could take, so I stomped into the bedroom, got my headphones, came back to the living room, gave him my best glare, turned on my computer, gave him my best glare again, and started listening to Pandora (that would show him!). He only let me glare for minute before he started pulling flour, garlic, carrots, onion, and other ingredients out for the soup. We smiled at each other and laughed (mostly it went like that), and he made a delicious dinner as usual. Our Saveur weekend was back on, and tomorrow for brunch he’ll be substituting in baby lima beans for fava beans in a brunch recipe neither of us has ever tried.
To indulge in a Saveur type weekend, here is one really great recipe to try.
Cream of Tomato Soup (recipe from Saveur, October 2012)
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1 small bunch green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf (Um, I also forgot this at the store, so we did not include this, but it still tasted wonderful.)
- First heat the bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until its fat renders and it is crisp.
- While cooking the bacon, B chopped up two carrots, the onion, and garlic and combined them in a medium size bowl.
- When the bacon is crisp, take it out of the saucepan, chop it up, and mix it in a bowl with the chopped vegetables. Add butter to bacon fat and increase temperature to medium high.
- Add bacon and chopped vegetable to bacon fat and butter. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add flour and cook until mixture is smooth.
- Add stock, thyme, bay leaf, and canned tomatoes, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and purée. B did this with a hand held blender (he uses a lot and claims it’s a great investment)
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Dollop with crème fraîche (we used light sour cream) and sprinkle with green onions and croutons (B cuts up a bread loaf and heats it in the oven; the croutons are lovely).