Since we’re on the subject of restaurants, one that used to be one of my favorites is Panera Bread. I say ‘used to be’ because recently our local one has made my ‘no-go’ list. Overnight, it’s dirty, poorly staffed, expensive, and I even hate the new mix of music they play. Oh, and remember hanging out and surfing the net munching sweets and drinking coffee – no more. There’s 30 minute wi-fi limit. So, Panera has gone the way of Mickey-D’s (another no-go) ‘Get ’em in and get ’em out’. Maybe your neighborhood one isn’t like this, but I’m speaking strictly local here. What’s a girl to do – make some of the favorites myself. Since it’s cold and rainy… how about a Fresh Tomato Soup straight from their website. Sure, why not.
Panera Fresh Tomato Soup:
1 Tbl Olive Oil
1 Tbl Butter * optional
1 large Onion, chopped
1 large Garlic clove, minced
2 ribs, Celery, chopped
1 Tbl Flour
5 large, super-ripe Tomatoes (about 4 lb) chopped
1 tsp Sugar
4 Basil leaves, + 1 Tbl chopped (for garnish)
3/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Make sure those ‘matoes are really ripe. These, in hind-sight, weren’t really as good as they could be. Next time I’ll opt to use the box tomatoes and add a few fresh for taste. The celery, as a trick, lives wrapped in a paper towel and then foil…it keeps forever!
Get everything chopped.
Saute the celery and onion until soft (but not brown) in the oil/butter, then add the garlic. Add in the flour and stir in.
This doesn’t look like much but…
Add in the basil, sugar and spices. Let it simmer a bit. Smells amazing!
OK, now e’re ready to blend. If you’ve got an emersion blender, get it. Or just work in batches with a regular blender.
I can’t show you how to do this because I only have 2 hands and I need BOTH of them for this. Seriously, hold it upright and use the pulse function ONLY.
That’s it. Really good and warm and yummy and totally ON your diet !! You can add a touch of cream to make it more luscious. It’s ok, I won’t tell.
Some multi grain crackers and you’re good to go.
Oh, wait – I have a prettier plate…
I’m working on the whole ‘food styling’ thing.
Go and make this – it keeps a long time in the fridge – and your diet needs all the vitamins packed in this tiny bowl of goodness. This is NOT your Mom’s re-constitued ‘Red & White’ canned soup. This is the real thing – mmmmmm good.