Tomato Soup

Serves 6-8
You'll Need: 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 14 medium vine ripe tomatoes, large pot of water, 1 shallot diced, 2 organic carrots peeled and diced, 2 celery stalks diced, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 1 can organic diced Roma tomatoes (14.5 oz can), 4 cups organic stock (vegetable or chicken), 1 Tbsp tomato paste (I like cento brand), 1 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1 cup whole organic milk, pinch salt, pinch black pepper
Garnish: sour cream, basil leaves, crouton toast (recipe attached)
How to Prepare: Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add the vine ripe fresh tomatoes to the water and blanch for 1-2 minutes. Using a skimmer or a slotted spoon carefully remove tomatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Let sit until they cool slightly. Using a pairing knife, cut out the stem and peel the skins off the tomatoes. Discard stems and skins. Cut tomatoes in half. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the shallot, carrots and celery and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.** Add the garlic, vine tomatoes and canned roma tomatoes and stir together with a wooden spoon for 3-4 more minutes. Pour in the stock and stir. Add the tomato paste and sugar and stir, cooking until liquid boils. Once boiling reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes. Stir in milk and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes. Taste to see if you want to add more salt. Remove dutch oven from stove and place on a heat safe surface. Using an immersion blender, carefully stick the wand with the blade end down, into the pot (dutch oven). Making small circular motions with the motor running, blend up the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can carefully transfer the soup to a blender to puree. Using a ladle serve the soup in individual bowls. Add a spoonful of sour cream (or you can place sour cream in a ziplock bag and cut the corner slightly to pipe in the sour cream as a pretty garnish). Add a leaf or two of fresh basil. Add a piece or two of crouton toast. Enjoy.

Garlic toast:
You'll Need: 1 loaf French bread, 2-3 Tbsp butter
How to Prepare: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter French bread. Place on a baking sheet and put in oven for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cut bread into 1/2" slices width wise. Cut in half again length wise if you want them to be like square shaped croutons.

* If you do not have a shallot, use 1/3 of a white onion. A shallot is a milder form of an onion. Looks like a small white onion.
** Note, onions, carrots and celery diced up is the basis for many soups and sauces and is called a mire poix.
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