|By Julia Stewart|
When the days start getting shorter and the growing season is coming to an end, it's the perfect time to make this Tomato Basil Soup recipe. Enjoy the bounty of your harvest now and wow your friends and family with this wonderful soup. Add some yummy rolls and maybe a salad and your all set.
Before you start, be sure the herbs are clean and dry. One way to do this is to water them early in the morning and let them air dry until about mid morning. Harvesting herbs before the mid-day heat allows the plant to retain the essential oils which is what makes them taste so good. Another way to harvest your basil as suggested by Phyliss Shaudy in her book, Herbal Treasures, is to pick a warm breezy day and place two or three bowls of tepid water in the area you are going to work. Harvest the herbs and swish them in the bowls of water and shake off as much water as possible. Then, place the herbs between layers of white paper towels and allow them to air dry outside for 2 or 3 hours. Be sure to change the toweling once or twice. To speed up the process, de-stem their foliage and pat dry the leaves frequently.
|Tomato Basil Soup Recipe |
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, un-drained
2 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (I used sweet basil)
Basil or parsley leaves (optional for garnish)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth, salt, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Stir in basil.
Place half of the soup in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl, and repeat procedure with remaining soup. Garnish with basil or parsley leaves, if desired.
Grow Your Own Basil
Cooking with basil, especially if you grew it yourself, is wonderfully satisfying. There are so many recipes to try and over 150 varieties of basil worldwide. Pick your favorite to experiment with. A great place to find a wide variety of basil varieties to try in your own garden is online catalogs. You may want to try a variety called 'Genovese basil' for cooking pesto. This large-leaved Italian basil is powerfully aromatic and classically popular, especially for pesto. Simply add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and garlic. That's it, your done! Another choice may be a lime basil. This variety has a tropical combination of zesty lime and sweet basil and is great with grilled fish, pasta, salsa, salads, poultry dishes and marinades, vinegars or jellies. Then, especially for Thai cooks, you will find 'Siam Queen Thai Basil.' This purple leafed award-winner has lovely, fragrant pink blossoms that lure beneficial insects and is used in savory curry dishes. For only a couple of dollars, you can purchase a packet with over 300 seeds. . .plenty to share with a friend.
This tomato-basil soup recipe is a great place to start cooking with basil. Don't let it be the only recipe you try though. With so many varieties on the market, plan now to grow as many as you can.
About the Author: Julia is a Master Gardener, floral designer, and garden crafter. Married to a landscape contractor, they enjoy gardening on their five acre flower farm and sharing it with others. For more gardening and crafting ideas, visit their web site at Flowers, Plants, Gardening Advice.com
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