I LOVE books. Some of my favorite places in this world are bookstores and libraries—I can spend hours browsing and reading! Because I also love to cook, I have a great affinity for cookbooks too. One of my favorite local stores was The Cook’s Library—it closed several years ago, unfortunately, but I loved it because it was a store full of cookbooks! And the staff loved to cook! It’s a shame that digital has taken over to such an extent that we are losing our bookstores, but such is life, I suppose.
I’ve acquired quite the cookbook collection over the years and have realized that I don’t use them as often as I should. So, as a regular feature here on the blog, I’m going to cook recipes and post reviews from the cookbooks photographed above! Once I’ve sufficiently worked my way through these, I’ll start with more from the collection, but I feel that these are a nice mix of styles and genres and it will help get me out of the cooking and food rut I have been in lately. First up is a simple but tasty Cream of Tomato Soup, lightly modified from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, published by Broadway Books.
Cream of Tomato Soup
- 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 celery rib, finely diced
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil OR 8 small leaves fresh basil
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- 2 cloves
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 oz tomato paste
- Pinch baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- Salt and freshly milled pepper
Melt half the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, allow to cook till limp. Add remaining butter, celery, garlic and cloves, stirring occasionally. Stir in the flour, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste and stock, bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the fresh basil leaves and baking soda, allow to cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly and then purée with or in a blender. Return soup to the pot, add the milk and season with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, you can dilute with additional milk or vegetable stock. If the tomato flavor isn’t as prominent as you would like, you can add additional tomato paste.
This makes an excellent, filling lunch when you want something that comes together quickly. You can easily double or triple to feed a crowd and adding a grilled cheese really rounds out the meal. I used Trader Joe’s Cheddar and Gruyère combo and it was delicious!
As a note, you can make this vegan by using Earth Balance vegan butter in the soup and sandwich, Daiya cheese for the grilled cheese and adding almond milk in place of the regular milk. I actually sampled this with almond milk and although it wasn’t quite as thick and creamy, it was still very tasty!
Do you regularly cook from any of these cookbooks? Are you as excited about Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook as I am?? Do you also hoard cookbooks? I want to know what you’re cooking these days, maybe I’ll feature it on the blog! Leave me a comment below or tag me in your cooking successes (or failures) on Instagram!