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Tomato Soup with Feta and Basil August 31, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in good for a group, soup, uncategorized, vegetarian.
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I spent the weekend up north with Ryan and our friends, camping and tubing down the Rifle River.  We left to come home pretty early on Sunday, and decided to stop somewhere along I-75 south to get breakfast.  As we approached Saginaw, a quick check of what was nearby on Yelp (Yelp is a community-driven website where people review restaurants, stores, businesses, etc) showed that…well…Yelp wasn’t very popular in the Saginaw community.  A nearby Big Boy seemed our best option, but when we got off the freeway, Big Boy was nowhere to be found.  There was a Big John’s, purveyor of cheesesteaks, so I will have to chalk that mishaps up to a confused Yelp contributor.

We got back on I-75 south, and decided to take a little detour into Frankenmuth for breakfast and a quick walk around town.  And that is how I ended up eating a giant calzone at 11am at a place called “T Dubs.” To be fair, the calzone was pretty irresistible… spinach, parmesan cheese, red sauce, ricotta, caramelized onions, and tomatoes all wrapped up in a buttery garlic dough!  Who wouldn’t want that for Sunday breakfast?

After our breakfast at T Dubs, we wandered down the street to one of the many hauses in downtown Frankenmuth, and possibly the best one: the Cheese Haus. While I was not brave enough to try the chocolate cheese, I did leave with two different cheeses: a chicken soup cheese (ingredients list specified “vegetarian chicken seasoning”) and a monterey dill.  YUM.

When Ryan and I arrived home later on, our plan was to make grilled cheese with our new finds and a batch of homemade tomato soup.  But we were hit with unexpected housework upon our return, and I had a bunch work-work to do, so the tomato soup never happened.  Ryan made the grilled cheeses while I sat on the couch doing work on my laptop, and that ended up being plenty of food after the ridiculous breakfast.

But since it’s been so long since I’ve posted, I want to leave you with this tomato soup recipe anyways, because we make it often and it is DELICIOUS.  Don’t skip the fresh lemon juice or the balsamic–both are key.

Tomato Soup with Feta and Basil

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups water or broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbl olive oil
2-3 tsp minced garlic
1 small red pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I have used fire-roasted and the kind with basil/oregano in them)
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1-2 tbl balsamic vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
Cold water
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Feta cheese

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add onion. Saute until softened and add garlic and red bell pepper. Saute 3 to 4 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, diced tomatoes, and water/broth, soy sauce, and onion powder.

Stirring often, bring to a boil. Bring to low heat and add basil and vinegar.

Remove from heat and puree soup with immersion blender to desired consistency.

Return to low heat. Blend cornstarch into just enough water to dissolve without lumps and stir into soup.

Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes and remove from heat.  Serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice and feta cheese stirred into individual bowls.

This can easily be halved if you only want 2-3 servings.  As written, it makes 5-6.

Options:

This is also good with dill instead of basil.  Think about stirring in a few crumbles of goat cheese or creme fraiche in place of the feta.  Many options exist!

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