Add some soup

Going right from my grilled sandwich post into a quick soup recipe.  The two would be great together, however this soup was so good when I made it Saturday the leftovers did not make it to lunch on Monday.
Local readers might know of the joys of Petit Chou's tomato artichoke soup.  Petit Chou is way up there on my list of favorite brunch/lunch spots when I really want to treat myself.  I almost always order a cup of the soup and follow it with a dessert crepe.  I told you I have no problem being kind to physical self.  Maybe you think it would be kinder to skip the crepe so I could skip a workout or two, but I heartily would disagree.  Food is meant to be enjoyed, not feared.  Pretty fond of the honey ricotta crepe with blueberry compote.  Excuse me while I just have a little moment and conjure that up in my head.

Back to the soup.  Here's a version I made based on an old recipe from Epicurious.  If you have a stick immersion blender it will make this soup very easy to prepare.  If you don't have one, you can either run the soup in batches through your blender or just tough it out and eat it with chunky vegetables.  One last little story for today because my stick blender story is a good one.  Last month after hot yoga, which is conveniently just around the corner from Sur La Table I decide to stop in after seeing the cute brightly colored immersion blenders on the back cover of their latest catalog for $29.95.  I have gone long enough without one and I'm just too messy to deal with the batches of hot liquids and the blender.  The SLT sales person gets all involved in my color choice dilemma and offers up the stainless steel version which also comes with a little bowl attachment for chopping and a little whisk.  It is also $29.95.  The choice is no longer a dilemma.  I take my stainless model to the counter and it rings up for $59.95.  It has the nice big $29.95 sticker on it, so I win the lottery that day and get my deluxe version for the bargain price.  Awesome.  Love the thing.

Tomato Artichoke Soup

1 T olive oil or butter
1 white or yellow onion, finely choppped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's maybe 16 ounces), thawed in microwave
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes (crushed or diced)
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
Parmesan or Romano rind (optional)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 C lowfat plain yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche if desired.

In a large saucepan or medium dutch oven (Le Creuset), heat the olive oil or butter and saute the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add artichoke hearts, tomatoes, basil and bay leaf.  Add the cheese rind if you have one (if you buy the big wedges of Parmesan or Romano from Costco, save the hard rinds to flavor soups).  Bring to a boil and simmer to blend flavors for 20-30 minutes or so.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove bay leaf and rind, if using.  Puree with stick/immersion blender or ladle in batches into blender to puree if desired (only fill blender half way or you could have boiling soup everywhere).   Stir in yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche if a little creaminess is desired.  Serve hot or cold (well, not right now save the cold for summer).

adding the seasonings

pureeing with my new toy
possibly a picture of the soup in a pretty serving bowl would be more enticing 


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