Sunday, August 30, 2015

La Madeleine: Tomato Basil Soup

Ask almost anyone what their favorite thing is at la Madeleine, and you'll hear tomato soup.  Except all those weird people obsessed with Caesar salad.  Okay, okay, the Caesar salad is good, too.  But the tomato soup is AMAZING.  And now I know why: butter and cream.  Sneaky.  But now that I can make it at home, I don't have to dish out quite as much cash to feed my addiction.

Tomato Basil Soup
Adapted from la Madeleine Country French Café, as seen in The Dallas Morning News

4 cups (8 to 10) tomatoes, peeled, cored, and chopped
4 cups tomato juice
2 teaspoons chicken base (optional)
12 to 14 fresh, washed basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread

Combine tomatoes, juice (or juice-stock mixture) in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Cool slightly, then place the mixture in a blender and process with fresh basil leaves to puree. This will have to be done in small batches.

Strain the mixture, pushing as much pulp through the mesh as possible. Return the mixture to the saucepan and add the cream and butter. Stir over low heat until the cream and butter are incorporated. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with crusty bread.

Note: If the soup seems too acidic after the butter and cream have been added, add a little granulated sugar to balance the flavors.  Sometimes tomatoes need a little help.

Makes 8 servings

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Xihongshi Chao Jidan (Stir-Fried Tomato and Eggs)

A friend I had back in college first made a version of these eggs for me.  I've got to admit, I was a little surprised.  They just seemed so...easy.  Up to that point, I had always thought of Chinese food as some sort of unapproachable set of dishes only to be found in restaurants.  And she served it for dinner.  Now, I'm not going to say this isn't a dinner dish, but I certainly like that I have something different in my breakfast file.

Xihongshi Chao Jidan (Stir-Fried Tomato and Eggs)

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 ripe red tomatoes (about ½ pound total weight), cut into wedges
Pinch granulated sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
3 or 4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt, to taste

Add peanut oil to a wok or frying pan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and sugar and cook until some of the juice evaporates.  Add the soy sauce and white pepper.  Push the tomatoes to the edges of the wok and pour the eggs into the center.  Slowly begin to scramble them.  When they are almost cooked through, start to toss them with the tomatoes.  Add the green onions, sesame oil, and salt and serve over hot rice.

Makes 2 servings