I am excited to be participating in November 2013 challenge for the Canadian Food Project, The Canadian Harvest. The Canadian Food Project Experience was started on June 7, 2013 by Valerie Lugonja of A Canadian Foodie. It’s a compilation of Canadian Food Bloggers who are committed to sharing their time, unique regional Canadian food experiences, and recipes. We hope to bring clarity to our Canadian Culinary identity by sharing food that is important to us as Canadians.
With a short growing season, September and October bring us a cornucopia of tomatoes. My own little crop of tomatoes are grown in container plants on my deck. This year we harvested quite a number of lovely little tomato specimens and true to form in Calgary, we get early frost in September, so it becomes a race against time to get everything harvested. Since many were picked green, they had to be left on the counter to ripen. And ripen they did.
Growing up in the 1970’s, my parents garden was full of blooming edibles. The greenhouse was home to many varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers. I believe it was an art growing such delicacies and my mom had mastered it. Every Summer and Fall we would have an abundance of fresh produce to enjoy. Many of the tomatoes were canned and stored for the winter. A couple of my favourite things to eat was tomatoes picked fresh from the garden and my mom’s canned tomatoes that had been warmed in a pot, mixed in with cooked macaroni and finished with Parmesan and salt. One thing she never did get into was making tomato soup, until I was in my twenties and living in Vancouver. So for us, as children, tomato soup consisted of Old Fashioned Tomato, Basil and Rice Soup, from a can. Long live Campbell’s.
Compelled and determined to bring my own rug rats up on home made soups, I’ve been trying different versions of tomato soups over the years. One memorable epic fail was squash and tomato…it did not work together. This year we had our own red and yellow garden tomatoes to use and a friend’s red tomatoes from her garden that she shared with us.
When I think of an Albertan or Prairie Harvest, I think beyond wheat, mustard, grains and canola oil…I think about all the love and care that goes into the Farms and the crops the farmers grow and protect from damaging weather and hail, only to harvest and bring to market. A true labour of love.
As we entered November I needed to use up what was left of our tomato harvest and so yet again, I made tomato soup. This time it worked.
- 6 cups tomatoes washed and stem removed, large ones quartered
- 1/2 onion thick slice
- 4 garlic cloves peeled
- olive oil
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves
- 3 whole sundried tomatoes packed in oil
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- slices of provolone or mozzarella cheese
- croutons homemade or store bought
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a baking dish toss your tomatoes, onion and garlic with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and let roast for 30-45 minutes or until caramelized. Remove and set aside.
- In a pot over medium high heat add roasted tomatoes. Toss in basil and sundried tomatoes. Taste for seasoning and as salt as needed. Pour in stock, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove and set side aside.
- Using an immersion blender or food processer puree soup mixture in batches. Strain to remove any large bits.
- Pour into oven safe bowls, add croutons and cheese. Add to 400F oven and let cook until cheese has melted and/or lightly browned. Remove and serve.