Sunday, March 30, 2014

Taxes and Tomato Soup

Springtime in the Pacific Northwest isn't for the faint of heart. We can go days and weeks with no sunshine. It just rains and rains and rains some more. Now the upside to all this moisture is that when the sun finally does shine, we are surrounded by a lushly growing landscape. It's God's country, as we like to say around here. But in the meantime, we must somehow get through the soggy spring.

Yesterday was that kind of day: it poured the entire day, and the wind was fierce. As if that wasn't hard enough, I spent the day getting together my tax information. I abhor tax time with a vengeance. But I stuck to it and I'm glad to be done for another year (except for the actual paying-the-taxes part, which I'll do on April 15th and not a day sooner!). One thing about tax time is that I always feel the distinct need to live frugally. And while I resent that it's the taxes that cause my Spartan life, the fact is that I plain enjoy living off my little piece of land.

You might be wondering, what does this have to do with tomato soup?

Back to yesterday and the taxes. I didn't want to get sidetracked making a meal, and yet I needed to eat. And I certainly didn't feel as if I could afford to take the easy way out and run down to a local food joint and buy something ready made. So I poked around in my pantry and pulled out a jar of home canned diced tomatoes. Hmm...What to do?

Well, this is what I did:

Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons very finely diced onion, more or less
1 tablespoon vey finely diced celery, more or less
1 can diced tomatoes (I used a pint jar of home-canned tomatoes instead)
2 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
half a can of tomato paste, more or less (use some tomato sauce if you don't have paste)
herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and a bay leaf)
salt and pepper to taste
milk (optional)
sour cream (optional)

First off, I sautéed the onion and celery in the butter in the pot I planned to use for the soup. (Less to clean up afterward.)

Next, I added the tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, herbs, and salt and pepper. I sort of smashed/cut the tomatoes so they were in small bits. (If you have an immersion blender you could try whirring it and making the soup smoother, but I liked the bits of tomato, onion, and celery.)

I let it cook down awhile, stirring occasionally. When I was ready to eat, I removed the bay leaf and then tasted the soup and adjusted the seasonings.

Next, I added a spritz of milk to my bowl and then ladled the soup into the bowl and stirred to mix. About three bites in, I realized that a goodly glop of sour cream would make it taste even better, so--even though the picture above doesn't show that--I added a dollop of sour cream. It was heavenly! Some shredded Cheddar cheese would have been good also but I was too busy to go to the trouble.

All in all, this was a quick and tasty meal. And it fit nicely with my sense of frugality. And even though it did nothing to make me like tax time any better, I loved the sense of self-reliance it gave me to make do with what I have on hand. It's a great feeling!

Here's to sunny weather! May it come soon.



  1. This recipe looks great too lol, but I had a question about the one in your Amish Canning Cookbook. You give psi & time for both quarts and pints, but while reading it, I get the vibe it's better as pints? Lol I really like being certain before trying new canning recipes. Does it workout with quarts or would I be better off canning pints?

    1. Hi, Nicole! It's safe to can both pints and quarts, but I usually can pints because the amount works better for me. Still, when all my boys were still at home, quarts were the way to go...I'd often use a quart jar AND a pint jar so we'd have enough. :)