Thrifty Dinner.

Thanksgiving had me overindulge both in my eating and in my spending, so when Baseball Boy suggested tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner last night, I quickly said yes, excited for an excuse to use my cheese remnants and save money on dinner. One of the grand juxtapositions of life, however, is that I don’t really crave tomato soup when tomatoes are actually in season. I had a bite of my first tasteless, plastic-like tomato of the season this past weekend, and should have been scared off by the fruit until next July. But I wasn’t. I have a secret ingredient.

The store recently started carrying Dei Fratelli canned tomatoes from Toledo, Ohio. And while they’re not the same as vine ripe tomatoes, they’re are as close as I can find in December. While many of my foodie heroes and heroines can their own, I’m not there yet. So my personal marketing slogan for these guys is: Freshness Without the Botulism.

The cheese, on the other hand, was far from fresh. I pulled together the ends of some goodies: Emmi Gruyere, Beemster Aged Gouda (direct from heaven) and that terribly addicting inexpensive smoked gouda I’ve found in even the most humble of grocery store cheese departments. I had no idea of the outcome, but I knew that these cheeses needed a final resting place, and well, why not in between two slices of buttered bread?

The dinner was simple and inexpensive, though I must say that my beloved Beemster was better in its prime. In the future, I’ll leave the fancy cheeses off the sandwich, and make sure to eat them sooner than later. The sandwich, to be honest, was “meh” and would have been better with just a simple cheddar. The soup, however, based on a recipe Maya sent from The Wednesday Chef, was a winner, and will be – along with those tomatoes – in regular rotation during these winter months.

Thai-Spiced Tomato Soup
from Gourmet, via The Wednesday Chef

(I added a little milk to the mix.)

1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (14-oz) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 lime
A handful of cilantro leaves (optional)

1. Cook onion in oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add curry paste and cumin and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, brown sugar, and salt and simmer 15 minutes.

3. Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pot and reheat. You can also leave the soup in the pot and purée using an immersion blender. Stir in the lime juice and serve, garnishing with cilantro, if using.

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7 thoughts on “Thrifty Dinner.

  1. Giga says:

    Hey Jill, you know you can get those tomatoes in other grocery stores, too? I’ve bought em at Marc’s and I know I’ve gotten them elsewhere. I buy them all the time.

  2. Jill says:

    Good to know they’re widely available. All the better! I wonder if they stray far from the midwest. Maya, have you seen them in your neck of the woods?

  3. Laddan says:

    Yeah, I’ve bought this brand too! Didn’t realize the company was Ohio-based.

  4. Jaydubs says:

    Add me to the people who have bought–and enjoyed–’em. I think maybe I even found a can at Odd Lots (home to a surprising amount of delicious/imported/organic/vegetarian/unusual foods).

  5. Amanda says:

    I need to eat that soup :)

  6. Mary says:

    I’ve been making my family recipe pasta sauce with Dei Fratelli tomatoes for years. Love em! Did not realize they are local and now love em more!

  7. Maya says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen them here; I mostly use San Marzanos or those Pomi boxed tomatoes, though, so I’ll pay closer attention next time I go shopping and let you know.

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