Everything is coming up tomatoes!!

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Everything is coming up tomatoes!!

As I walk through the neighborhood, I love to look through the fences and see gardens that are growing. It’s amazing how talented the neighbors are. I had a beautiful garden last year and many of you that know me, also know that I am moving to Alaska in 3 weeks. Therefore, no garden here in Utah. I am excited to grow microgreens in Alaska and to see what we might still be able to grow in and out of the greenhouse this summer.

Tomatoes are one of my favorite foods and especially home grown tomatoes. Tomatoes are packed full of nutrition. These benefits include: cancer prevention in controlling the abnormal cells. Tomatoes help in heart health including heart attacks. The health benefits also include eye care, good stomach health, and reduced blood pressure. They may also provide relief from skin problems, and urinary tract infections, and may aid in the reduction of risk of diabetes. A single tomato gives you 40% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C.

As your tomatoes will soon be ready to harvest, here are a couple of fresh tomato soup recipes. They are both delicious yet very different in flavor. The first recipe is flavored with pasta and basil and a touch of milk. The second soup is packed with extra protein of beans and a wonderful rosemary flavor along with homemade croutons. Both soups sauté the garlic and onion in oil and this releases the most delicious flavors when slow cooking tomatoes and herbs. Try them both out and maybe you’ll be like me and both recipes will win your heart.

Tomato – Basil Soup

• 4 ½ pounds tomatoes (4 pounds quarter, ½ pound diced small)
• 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable broth – low sodium
• 1 ½ T. Extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 4 scallions, diced
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup mini bow ties or other mini pasta
• ½ cup chopped fresh basil
• 1 cup milk or heavy cream
• Chopped fresh basil for garnishment

Instructions:

1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and scallions and sauté until softened and golden brown.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock or broth and ½ cup chopped basil. Bring to a boil and the reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon baking soda and simmer 5 additional minutes.
3. Puree the soup mixture and pour back into pot and bring to a high simmer.
4. Add 1 cup bow tie pasta and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add 2 T. chopped basil and 1 cup milk or heavy cream. Lower heat to simmer and heat throughout. DO NOT BOIL
6. Ladle into boils and garnish with fresh basil if desired.

This next recipe feels like a cream soup. The creamy flavor and texture come from great northern beans. It is topped with fresh homemade croutons and fresh tomatoes. It has a wonderful infused flavor of fresh rosemary as well as rosemary in the croutons. Try this soup – It is easy, fun and delicious.

Tuscan Tomato – White Bean Soup

• 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, smashed
• Kosher salt
• 2 T. tomato paste
• 2 pounds tomatoes chopped, reserve ½ cup and dice these a bit smaller
• 2 – 15 ounce cans no salt added Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
• 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth or low sodium chicken stock
• 2 sprigs rosemary
• 1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
• ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for croutons
• 4 cups cubed bread
• ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 ounces)

Instructions:

1. Heat 1 T. of olive oil a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, 3 garlic cloves and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes but not the diced, the beans, broth, rosemary sprigs, red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes.
2. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Working in small batches, puree the soup and return to the large pot or Dutch oven. Reheat the soup and season with salt. Cover to keep warm.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and 2 garlic cloves in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Toss with bread, dried rosemary, mozzarella and a pinch of salt on a baking sheet; sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the croutons are golden, about 10 minutes.
4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with croutons and the reserved ½ diced tomatoes; drizzle with olive oil.

Sources: Food Network Magazine, healthline.com, organicfacts.net

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