What is comfort food? A big bowl of hot, creamy tomato soup and rustic crusty bread for dipping. That’s comfort food. The kind that mom used to make. The kind that you bring to a friend of neighbor in a time of need. That’s comfort food. These recipes, creamy tomato coconut soup and rustic almost no knead bread, are for a very special cause this week.
On Twitter last week I saw a post from Barbara from the fabulous Creative Culinary blog, about a food blogger event online, Food Bloggers Support For Sandy. A food blogging event to help the victims of hurricane Sandy. Everyone is to post their recipes on their blogs on Nov 8. After reading the post and seeing what she and Jenn, from Jenn Cuisine, had put together for the victims of the hurricane via the food blogging community I knew I wanted to help.
After having watched the havoc the hurricane wreaked on the east coast last week, and reading and hearing about the thousands of people displaced from their homes, without power for days, grocery stores shelves empty, gas stations without gas, I couldn’t even image what was going through anyone’s head besides basic survival, staying warm and dry and having food to eat. Wondering what had happened to their homes during the hurricane, if they were even still standing. Many businesses were destroyed as well as lives. So terribly tragic. So much we take for granted until a disaster happens and we realize what is really truly important. It was amazing though to hear the stories of people pulling together and helping one another out despite everyone being in the same situation just wanting to get gas and food and warm dry shelter. The pictures online were unreal. Looked like a war zone in some areas.
This food blogging event is to create and share a recipe that one would make and take to a friend or family member in a time of need, a warm, comforting meal that would make them feel loved and taken care of. Something to show that people really do care about one another, especially in times of tragedy. I had happened to see this recipe on Dine and Dish last week and wanted to make it but for some reason I totally missed seeing one of her major ingredients in the list as well as I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand. So I decided to just make my own version of a creamy tomato soup instead. I still want to try hers, but I am thrilled with how good mine turned out considering I made it up on the spot with what I had in the house at the time. I LOVE creamy tomato soup. Totally reminds me of cold, fall days when I was a kid, and the tomato soup my mom made warmed me right up. I usually ate it with either a crispy grilled cheese sandwich, saltines or freshly baked bread my mom had made from scratch as well.
I wished I lived closer to the victims of the hurricane so I could actually hand deliver batches of this creamy tomato coconut soup and loaves of fresh baked bread in person. I absolutely love sharing what I make with others, and I know how much each and everyone that went through the hurricane would be more than appreciative of a hot, homemade meal. I know if it was me I would be more than touched if someone brought me homemade food.
Along with sharing the virtual donations of all the recipes from food bloggers all over, on Barbara’s blog, she also has shared a badge that links to donate to the red cross, and made it possible for all of us to share this link on our blogs as well. All donations go to the red cross to aid the victims of hurricane Sandy. She also has links to where to support the victims if you don’t have a blog to share the badge and recipes on. If you wish to donate to the red cross just click on the badge below and donate as little or as much as you can. Any amount is more than appreciated. Especially since the east coast is getting set to get hit by another storm, this time bringing snow and freezing temperatures to the damaged areas.
I really think it is neat the way the food blogging community not only supports one another on a daily basis, but also helps others in time of need. I feel great knowing I am a part of this community and that I am able to help out as well with a bowl of tomato soup and crusty bread. So comforting. I made this soup non-dairy, as I had no milk or cream on hand, but I did have coconut milk. It adds a rich creaminess to the soup like heave cream does, but it doesn’t add a strong coconut flavor, at least not one that I notice. I will have to add coconut milk to soups more often, I really like how it added to the richness of this soup. Thankful for Barbara and Jenn for putting this event on and glad I am able to participate. Thank you Barbara and Jenn. Also to see others’ posts and recipes, search for the hashtag, #FBS4Sandy on Twitter and check out Barbara’s blog, Creative Culinary and Jenn’s blog, Jenn Cuisine.
- 4 tbsp butter OR coconut oil for a non-dairy version
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped fine
- 2 26 ounce containers of POMI chopped tomatoes
- ¼ c organic tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ tsp sea salt, divided
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup coconut milk - full fat
- Extra chopped basil for garnish
- In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat and continue to cook until frothy and starting to brown just a little, add in the onions and garlic and sauté un the browning butter for 5 -6 minutes.
- Add in the tomato paste and sauté another 3-4 minutes to caramelize the onions and paste. Add in the Pomi tomatoes and the basil and stir to combine. Add in the broth, red pepper flake ,half the salt and pepper, raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, lower the heat back down and simmer for 30-45 min until slightly reduced and thickened.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 20 min.
- Puree the soup in 2-3 batches in a blender. Return to the pan and heat on low until simmering again. Add in the remaining salt if needed and slowly add in the coconut milk. Stir well til combined.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve hot, garnish with fresh basil
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1½ tsp instant rise or active yeast
- ⅔ c room temp beer, preferably a pale ale, not a dark beer( I used Mirror Pond Pale Ale)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup water, room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp white vinegar (not wine)
- 1 tbsp bread flour
- Whisk the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl, add in the water, beer and vinegar and stir until it starts to form a shaggy ball. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature a minimum of 8 hours to overnight about 12-15 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 10 times, and shape to form a smooth ball with the seam side down. Place a large piece of parchment paper in the large bowl, sprat with olive oil spray and set the dough into the bowl. Cover again loosely with the plastic wrap and let sit at room temp until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- At the last half hour of the dough rising, set a Dutch oven with the lid on in an oven on a rack set at the lowest level and preheat to 500 deg f. Let it pre-heat for 30 minutes.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, lightly dust the top with about a tablespoon of flour and score an X on the top of the dough with a sharp knife.
- Partially pull out the rack from the oven with the Dutch oven on it, remove the lid and carefully set the loaf into the pot and replace the lid. Reduce the heat to 425 deg f and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and test the temperature of the bread in the center of the loaf with a meat thermometer. If it’s not at 220 deg F, bake uncovered another 10-20 minutes until it reaches that temperature.
- Remove the bread from the pot and cool on a wire cooling rack about 2 hours before serving.