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Top Notch Cream of Tomato Soup
By Leah Quinn

Easy to make and oh so satisfying, I made this in advance of oral surgery (yeah, I know, ugh!) when I knew I wouldn't be able to cope the next day. This creamy yet full of needed vitamins soup kept my head afloat, and more. This one is a keeper and of course it goes great with rustic grilled cheese sandwiches and is perfectly great on a cold rainy or wintry day too. This recipe is also handy to have on hand since one usually always has all the ingredients needed in their kitchen...And remember, tomatoes are super good for you and also help your lungs function properly- so eat your veggies! Ingredients:

    2 large cans of whole plum tomatoes in their juices (28 oz sized cans)

    2 stalks celery-diced

    2 carrots-diced

    1 med. onion-diced

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    5 slices of bacon chopped up

    salt and fresh ground pepper

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 tablespoon parsley (optional)

    1 cup cream, yes cream - half-n-half is ok to use as well as other substitutes like skimmed milk, but try and use the cream if you can - hey quick no one is looking!

    freshly ground Parmesan cheese to top it all off once ready to serve

    Equipment Needed: blender, soup pot with cover

    Directions:

    In a large bowl open up cans of tomatoes and put into bowl.

    Slice up bacon and place with a little olive oil into the cold soup pot. On medium heat, let bacon slowly crisp up.

    While bacon is cooking, with own hands, carefully crush up tomatoes in large bowl - do your best not to squish onto yourself the tomato juices.

    Once bacon is done, strain out bacon, but leave fat in.

    Take diced up celery, carrots, onion and fresh ground pepper and let sweat in bacon fat till onion is translucent. Mmm getting there already! Sweat vs. sautée which means low to medium heat.

    Add garlic, continue sweating (not you, but the vegetables) for two minutes, add "hand-crushed" tomatoes to pot.

    Let simmer at least 45 minutes with cover on soup pot.

    Taste and add salt as necessary. Let soup cool down considerably before attempting to putting it into blender to liquidfy all soup in order to avoid blender popping its top and making a mess in your kitchen. Using a hand blender is great too and you can do it while it's still hot.

    Next add cream while heat is low. It's now ready to serve.

    Serve with rustic bread grilled cheeses if you like, sprinkle fresh parsley, the grated cheese, sprinkler with bacon bits and voila - the perfect top notch creamy tomato soup!

    Tomatoes are full of licypene, a known antioxidant and are full of vitamins C, A and K. Some studies are starting to show that they help support lung functions specifically two powerful compounds found in tomatoes-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid-are thought to block the effects of nitrosamines. These are compounds that not only are formed naturally in the body, but also are the strongest carcinogen in tobacco smoke. By blocking the effects of these nitrosamines, the chances of lung cancer are reduced significantly. Who Knew!?!Leah Quinn is a writer specializing on food, health and entertainment and is a multi-media artist living in New York. Come on by if you are curious about my many other great homemade recipes at dinner-and-jam dinner- and-jam Leah_Quinn Leah_Quinn

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