Noah's Ark here in New Hampshire, with a foot of water in the (then) empty bucket I left outside the last sunny day we had. Inbetween rainstorms, I visited the Keene Farmer's Market on Tuesday, and was delighted to pick up the first carrots of the season, and a few Gold Rush zucchini that were perfectly baby sized. Last night I fingered the fresh vegetables and decided to make my favorite soup, Tuscan Tomato, which is always a joy. The tang of tarragon and basil, the bright colors of the tomato and carrot , ( and this time, the Gold Rush zucchini) never fail to delight me .
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 T. olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
6-8 fresh carrots, finely grated ( I use my KitchenAid grater attachment)
1 medium sized zucchini, grated
1 large 28 oz. can Italian, whole plum tomatoes in juice, sliced ( wear an apron - they squirt!) in small pieces
1 T. dried tarragon
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 t. dried basil, or 2 T. sliced fresh basil
salt and freshly ground pepper
Chop onion. Melt butter and olive oil in cooking pot, and add onion to the pot. Stir on medium heat until golden, then add the grated carrots, the zucchini, the chicken stock, and the tarragon to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat. Add the cut up tomatoes and the basil and salt and pepper, and cook another 20 minutes on med-low, with the lid on.
Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches on rustic bread, and a green salad and you'll be in heaven.
Note: I was told a long time ago by another chef to always buy whole, peeled, plum tomatoes, when buying canned tomatoes. He insisted the canned tomatoes sold in pieces didn't have the flavor the whole tomatoes do, so I always follow his advice. Nevermind that I ALWAYS end up with tomato juice on my shirt - having forgotten to wear an apron.