Well, I couldn't stay away. I cracked open my last bottle of Robert Mondavi chardonnay (did you know that he passed away recently?) and poured myself a drink. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....
I have a thing for wine. I have acquired a real taste for wine, and really enjoy it. However, I am not one of those people, a wine snob. I don't profess to know a darned thing about it, but I know what I like, and I know what I don't.
I don't like a lot of wines... there's a select few, and since I don't spend much money on them, they are reasonably priced, generally California, wines... like good ol' Bobby's that I'm drinking now. Wait- is that disrespectful? I called him 'Bobby', do you think he'd mind? Oh well, I bought his wine, didn't I? Isn't the customer always right? Okay Bobby, cheers to you!
Man I can babble, can't I? About absolutely NOTHING! When in doubt, lets blame in on the wine, shall we?
To compliment tonight's wine choice, I made soup for dinner. Not just soup, mind you, but THE soup. If you have ever been to La Madeleine, you know what soup I mean. TOMATO BASIL SOUP. Yep, I have THE recipe... although I don't follow recipes anymore at all. I just use the Rachael Ray method, a hunk of this... a hunk of that... toss it together and voila!
No, but seriously, I did make the soup from La Madeleine, and its suuuuuuuuuuuper easy. I can't even remember the ACTUAL recipe anymore, I've tweeked and changed it to suit my needs, err... tastebuds, so I thought I'd share quickly:
Casey's Tomato Basil Soup a variation on the theme of La Madeleine's famous Creamy Tomato Soup
1 large can of tomatoes (almost any kind will do... if you like chunky soup, buy diced; if you like smooth creamy soup, buy crushed... or just buy whole tomatoes and puree the whole thing with the hand-held blender)
1 stick of REAL butter (I use land o'lakes for everything. I heart butter)
1 handful of REAL basil (I'm a purist at heart can you tell? I would have told you to grow the tomatoes too, but we're out of season, oh darn)
1 cup of chicken broth (any ol' kind will do)
2 cups of tomato juice (again, anything makes the grade)
1 cup+ heavy whipping cream
Parmesan cheese, for garnish (I use the good stuff [Reggiano])
Here's the deal: Pour the tomatoes, tomato juice & chicken broth into a large pot (hey, I think they're called Dutch Ovens, but I'm Dutch and even we don't call that an 'oven') with the stick of butter. Turn it on med-low heat and stir it every so often... You're allowing the butter to melt and the broth to marry together with all those tomatoes... Oh yeh I forgot, throw in the chopped basil.... don't let it burn! Err to the low side to keep this from happening (and cover it, see below)
Let it simmer for awhile. I always cover it, although the recipe said to leave it uncovered (don't listen to them, they don't know what they're talking about... they only sell zillions of it a year)...
After you know its good and hot, cooked through (anywhere from 30 minutes on), blend it if you think its too chunky... also this is a good time to give it a taste.
If you think it needs it, throw in some salt. How much, you ask? I have no idea. I throw in a lot, and always throw some over my shoulder. Isn't that supposed to be lucky? Hubby says it keeps witches from visiting (oh here we go again with his voodoo stuff)...
OK here you go... after you know in your heart of hearts that it is cooked through and all of the flavors have mingled (like I said 30+ minutes), turn it down to low and add 1 cup (or more if you're feeling creamy) of your cream and stir through.
At this time, I add fresh cracked pepper and just let it sit on top and I serve it. I put parmesan on the table and serve fresh pan frances (french bread).