I also like tomatoes, even though my old chiropractor swore that I shouldn't be eating nightshades. (OK, yeah, like I'm going to give up tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes? Sure, uh huh, I can totally see that happening any minute now.) After Jon's inspiration the other week with putting cream cheese in his potato and cauliflower soup, I'd got an urge to do something with cream cheese in a tomato base - probably along the lines of a tomato sauce of some kind. But when perusing La Dolce Vegan once again, I came upon a recipe for cream of tomato and basil soup (p. 114) and I knew I'd found my victim.
My version goes something like the following, and I've made shockingly few changes to the recipe; essentially they are that 1) I absolutely refuse to tell you how much oil to saute your damn onion in, 2) I specify milk type because I think it's quite important, and 3) I add cream cheese. Observe.
Tomato and Basil Cream Soup!
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup stock
- 1 (one) 14oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 cup tofutti cream cheese
- 1 cup Blue Diamond unsweetened almond milk, original flavor
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn (but not too early!)
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- Shock of shocks, you'll start by caramelizing your onion (in the amount of oil that you see fit, damnit).
- Add your stock, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
- Bring up to a "boil", though since it's quite thick I don't know that it boils per se, and then reduce to a simmer; simmer for five or so minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking / burning.
- Use this simmering time to chop or tear your basil; in doing so beforehand you'll lose a ton of flavor.
- After your five-or-so-minute-simmer, quickly stir in your cream cheese until it reaches an even consistency.
- Immediately add the milk, basil, and syrup. Bring back up to a simmer (not a boil), then turn off heat. (Yup, really.)
- Let sit for five at least minutes before serving.
It reminds me quite strongly of the tomato basil soup that Miss Nina and I used to go to La Madeline for (way pre my vegan years). Like really, we'd be all, do you want the soup? Because I want the soup. And we'd go just for that, and of course the free bread that came with it. That soup I believe was made of little more than tomatoes, basil, heavy cream, and romano cheese. To have achieved a soup with almost the same flavor and consistency, that's vegan and that I can cook myself, and that moreover is infinitely more healthy, is a thing of ecstasy. I will, and I repeat WILL, be making this soup again.
Whether or not I'll do it exactly the same way, well, that's matter of some debate.