Wednesday, September 5, 2007

thai tomato bisque

There's only two weeks of summer left! Hurry and make the most of the season's tomatoes, zucchini, and berries. I used a medley of tomatoes from my parent's garden to make this bisque, but of course canned tomatoes are just as good. When using fresh, make sure to peel and deseed them for a smoother texture soup. This is a good transitional dish between seasons- light enough for summer, and still hearty enough for the fall.

Oh and on a side note, my orchid plant has been flourishing like its on steroids! I think I've found the secret...plenty of sun, and a warm environment. Try to keep it in doors, as far away from air conditioning as possible.

Thai Tomato Bisque with Basil Oil Crouton
serves 3-4

1 28-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomato
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced carrot
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger root, minced
5-6 kaffir lime leaves
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp palm sugar (or regular sugar)
1/3 cup half & half, whole milk, or skim milk

1. In a soup pot, sautee onion and carrot in 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; keep stirring for a few more minutes.

2. Add the tomato, kaffir lime, fish sauce and palm sugar. Water can be added if the soup looks too chunky. Let come to a boil. Simmer over low heat, covered, for 1-2 hours.

3. Pick out the kaffir lime leaves. With an immersion blender, puree the soup. Add the half & half or milk, and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.

4. Serve with a piece of toasted baguette drizzle with basil oil.

Basil Oil
makes 2 cups

1 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
2 cups extra virgin olive oil, chilled
1 tsp salt

In a food processor or blender, puree all ingredients until smooth and well blended. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Store in a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator for up to one 1-2 months.