Late Summer Garden Soup

The really great thing about my garden this year is the utter lack of attention I've given to my tomatoes.

In years past, we've staked, vined, pinched, coddled and fretted.  This year, I made a declaration:  "We're putting them in the ground, and then ignoring them."  Yes, we weeded and watered, but I chose to let them do what they want to do - sprawl and wander and flop. 

HELLO tomatoes.  I even forgot what type I planted!  There's a good mix in there, but honestly, when they started to produce, one could hear statements such as "I don't remember that I got yellow cherry tomatoes."  Or "what are these lovely big red-yellow-striped things?"

Mostly we eat them fresh.  I give a good number to my mom and dad who adore garden tomatoes but never plant their own.  I've made a couple pots of soup, and the tiny ones get eaten either in the garden or in the kitchen.  Several plates of sliced maters with basil and sometimes cheese show up on lots of dinner menus.

Today, I had a variety of odds and ends that needed to be eaten.  Plus, there were several yellow squash and zucchini that got big all at once.  I only plant jalapeno and banana peppers, and they are still producing.  Herbs?  Lots and lots of them, too.

Here's what ended up in the pot today.  You can use whatever is in abundance.  I wish I'd had an eggplant to add to the glory, but alas, I've harvested ONE lovely purple beauty off two plants.  No more flowers.  Gardening is such a crap-shoot.

This recipe made about 2 quarts of soup.

Late Summer Garden Soup

several tomatoes of whatever variety, cored and seeded  (about 8 large tomatoes)
a few peppers, hot or mild, seeded and chopped
2 medium yellow squash, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 shallot, chopped (onion works, too)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
butter, a tablespoon or two
1/2 cup dry white wine (or water)
handful of each parsley, basil and oregano
salt and pepper
heavy cream, sour cream or full-fat yogurt (optional, but recommended)

In a pot, melt the butter.  Add the shallots, peppers and garlic.  Saute until just starting to soften.  Pour in the wine and let it bubble for a minute.  Drop in the tomatoes, squash and zucchini and bring to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the herbs, turn down the heat, and let it all cook and meld and be happy.

After about 15-20 minutes of simmering, turn off the heat.  Blend it all up with an immersion blender, or in a regular blender.  Taste for seasoning, adding more of this or that to your taste.  Stir in the creamy-dairy option of your choice.

If you make a big enough batch, you ought to freeze a quart.  In November or December, you will be very glad you did.  Serve it with another dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of red chile flakes.

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