My sister gave me Martha's first book "Entertaining" back in the 80's, and it was a revelation. I still cook from it, and bake her cookies, but I often make some changes to her original recipes, which, by the way, are flawless.
Her Tuscan Tomato soup is a splendid soup, bright and pretty in the dead of winter, but over time I added more and more herbs, resulting in a very tangy soup that matched its lovely colors. And for those of you that dislike tarragon, just add a little more basil, oregano and thyme, though I think you're missing something:) The other change I made was to cut the celery into chunks ( instead of finely chopped), and not to mince the carrots, making for a heartier soup. It's perfect for today, when the temperature has plunged to -2 degrees. Brrrrr.
This makes about 4 medium bowls of soup, which I serve with crusty bread and a bowl of shredded parmesan to pass around.
I grate the carrots using a Cuisinart attachment, but you can use a box grater just as well - just watch your fingers!
Tuscan Tomato soup
1 T. plain olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
2 stalks of celery, washed and sliced into even pieces (about 1 cup)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 cups)
One 28 oz can of Italian plum tomatoes
1- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock as needed
1/2 t. dry basil
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried oregano
2 t. dried tarragon
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
Heat the butter and olive oil in a soup pot on low heat.
Add the onions and celery and braise, covered, on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often.
Add the carrots and the tomatoes, which have been sliced into chunky piece, the juice from the tomatoes, and the chicken or vegetable stock.
Add the herbs, cover the pot, and simmer for 25 minutes.
Taste before serving, adding salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with a bowl of shredded parmesan and crusty, warm bread.
Hope you're staying warm - but getting out for a quick walk on these pretty, sunny days!