I was sixteen when I wrote my first cook book. Precious – Yes. Published – No. I was preparing to leave the family homestead, and the thought of not being able to prepare some of my favourite dishes prompted me to hand write my own cookbook. The idea of hand writing a book is a quaint idea and, I suspect, dates me somewhat. My book was entitled “Eat Me” referencing Alice in Wonderland wherein Alice finds a little ebony box lying under the table containing a very small cake, on which was lying a card with the words EAT ME beautifully printed on it in large letters. Alice eats the cake and she starts to open out like the largest telescope that ever was!
To this day, I still often refer to my handwritten little cookbook. The recipes really do stand the test of time. And my comments to myself are quite hilarious – at least to me. In a recipe for tomato aspic (what normal child would include a recipe for tomato aspic?) I have written in the Ingredient List “2 cups very finely chopped celery” and beside that, “the secret to success”. Now, I am not too certain if I meant to carry on and reveal the secret to success or whether celery itself is the secret to success.
This soup is so fresh and delicious it makes you wonder how that big brand name tomato soup ever became the bench mark for tomato soup. That big brand name soup bears no resemblance to real, made at home, tomato soup…. okay…it is red.
My original recipe uses red tomatoes but since I am struggling under the weight of masses amounts of split tomatoes in my garden, I am using yellow tomatoes for a change. In particular, I am using Aunt Gertie’s Gold , a large yellow beefsteak, and Banana Legs, an elongated yellow plum.
Quebec Tomato Rice Soup
6 tablespoon butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups milk
2 cups cooked brown rice
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Saute onions in butter until soft but not brown.
2. Add tomatoes, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
3. Add soda. Okay, I am not really sure what this does. I have read it stops the milk from curdling and/or neutralizes the tomatoes. What do I know? I was sixteen when I wrote out this recipe and have always added the soda. No questions asked.
4. Add four cups of milk (I use skim) and gently simmer. Do not boil.
5. Plate. Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure spoon rice into scoop and press. Place compacted rice in the centre of the soup plate and sprinkle chopped parsley.
Next week… what more can we harvest before the first season’s frost…………