Monday, April 18, 2011

It Takes Two (or 8 women spending a weekend at the lake) Tomato Soup with Shaved Fennel - serves 4

I certainly hope none of you have been not cooking since my last post or that your family hasn't disowned you from lack of eating.  Per my last entry, life around the household has been a mess and quite chaotic, with a few emotional crisis' here and there.  But, there are a few things in life that can take you away from the everyday hassles.  Calgon (is that around anymore?) and a weekend at a girlfriends lake house with 7 other wonderful women.  I had the opportunity to host a blissful, kid and husband free weekend laughing until it hurt, cooking up a plethora of mouth-watering food and serving up beverages to help "put-aside" any stress.  As my shoulders (and head) began to ease up from tension, I began to realize that life is waaaaay to short to be too busy not to hang with tha gals.  Even if it means spending a weekend with someone you don't know as well, it always ends up being a good thing and another mark in my BFF book of life.  Like this tomato soup and singing Rob Base's and DJ EZ Rock's "It takes two...", it really takes a few great women to unconsciously tell you "its going to be ok".


1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tbs for fennel
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4 thyme sprigs
3 tbs tomato paste
Salt and fresh ground pepper
4 cups water
Two 28 oz cans peeled Italian tomatoes, juices reserved
3 oz Fontina cheese, diced

Heat oil in large Dutch oven.  Add onions and garlic and saute until carmelized and slightly charred, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat 3 tbs olive oil until shimmering.  Add fennel and saute until carmelized and browned, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside.
Add tomatoes and their juice to pot, breaking up tomatoes. Add thyme and tomato paste, stirring to incorporate.  Add water and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste,then in batches, add half of soup to blender, only blending half the soup (be SURE and cover lid with hand and dish towel or you will have a mess!).  (You can also use a hand puree.)  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fennel and Fontina and serve.

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