Wednesday, June 11, 2014


The Tuesday-Thursday Gourmet Lunch Club was tossing ideas about in a vain attempt to choose a lunch menu for Thursday. It was raining, cold, and miserable outside. "Let's have something wonderful," one of us said. "Hamburgers on the grill," was another idea. Finally, one of us said, "I'll tell you what I want. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches! Yum!" The soup and sandwich idea seemed to lead the vote. 

Late this afternoon, we began to discuss tomorrow's menu again. My boss wanted his wife's tomato soup. "She uses baking soda in it. It's her secret ingredient," he assured me. The only problem was that she was out of town and he didn't have the recipe. Having learned the fine art of googling from my son, I searched for the recipe and was stunned to find a tomato soup with baking soda recipe. Since I had the recipe, I was elected to make the soup, and had every intention of following the recipe. The dogs were racing in circles around the kitchen, though, and I was very distracted. The soup was wonderful, but the recipe was definitely cobbled together (and super easy).  I thought you might enjoy it.  

TTGLC tomato soup

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1-2 tbsp dried basil (to taste)
3 cups milk
Pinch baking soda
Salt and pepper to taste 
Heavy cream for drizzling

Sautée the onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, then add tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cook 5-10 minutes (longer for richer flavor and thicker soup) then purée in blender, in batches if needed. Return to pot and heat. Sprinkle the baking soda over a few spoonfuls of milk to dissolve, then add this and the remainder of the milk to the soup. Bring to a nice simmer and heat thoroughly. Ladle into bowls, add salt and pepper as desired, and garnish with a drizzle of heavy cream. 

My mama loved creamy tomato soup, especially with grilled cheese sandwiches. Having to give up those rich cans of Campbell's when she was diagnosed with Celiac disease and switched to a gluten-free diet was one of her hardest sacrifices. (Well, giving up Twinkies and Ding Dongs was pretty tough, too.). As I sampled the soup tonight, I wished that I'd had this baking soda soup recipe a few years ago. She would have loved it!  Since I didn't, I'm enjoying it now in memory of my mama. 

When you try this recipe, I hope you think about my mama, too. She loved the beach, MSU Bulldogs, and creamy tomato soup! Yum!