Life is full of “Firsts”.
Your first day of school. Your first time driving a car by yourself. Your first kiss.
As you get older you still have firsts but they don’t have quite the same excitement.
Your first pair of bifocals. The first time someone asks you if you want the Senior Discount.
And this week . . . my first root canal. *yuck*
The combination of a sore, numb mouth, and having to pay lots of $$$ to the dentist, made it a good week to make a couple frugal batches of soup. I tried one new soup recipe and made another batch of a familiar recipe.
The new recipe was a method for making tomato soup from tomato paste. I had tried something like this once before without much success, ending up instead with a kind of pinkish lumpy soup that wasn’t very appetizing. But this new recipe did things a little differently, heating the tomato paste and the spices in one pan, and the milk in another, and then combining the two into a nice creamy red mixture.
This recipe makes a nice large batch of soup too for a decent price. A couple cans of tomato paste (39 cents each) and 3 cups of milk (about 15 cents per cup) plus a few cents for the spices means you get a whole potful of soup for about $1.25.
I haven’t quite perfected the spices yet though. The recipe I followed didn’t give any measurements for the spices so I used my usual plan of attack which is to start with a 1/2 teaspoon and go from there. Our first night eating the soup, it seemed a little bland and I thought maybe I was too stingy with the spices. BUT, we had leftovers and when we got the soup out again (on root canal day), it seemed to have more flavor. Hubby commented a couple times that it sure tasted good now. Perhaps I should have let everything simmer a little longer initially to let the spices mingle in a little better.
So when making this recipe, feel free to play around with the spices and let everything simmer, and be prepared for the leftovers to taste even better than the first time around.
HOW TO MAKE TOMATO SOUP FROM TOMATO PASTE
Adapted from the recipe at Uncle Dutch Farms
2 – 6 oz cans of tomato paste
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, basil, oregano, parsley, salt, and white pepper
3 cups milk
1. In a large saucepan combine the tomato paste and water. Stir in the baking soda, sugar, and spices.
2. Heat the tomato paste mixture over medium heat. This is a thick mixture and it pops and splatters, so you’ll probably want to cover it, stirring occasionally. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
3. In a separate large saucepan, heat the 3 cups of milk.
4. When both the tomato paste mixture and the milk are about the same temperature (just use your best estimate), combine the two by slowly pouring the warmed milk into the tomato paste, stirring it as you go.
5. This is where I went ahead and served the soup, but perhaps a little extra simmering would be helpful.
The original recipe was primarily about making the tomato soup without the milk curdling and provided the following helpful notes:
– Baking soda adds a bit of alkalinity to counteract the acidity of the tomato paste, with the acidity being what causes curdling to begin with.
– Adding the tomato mixture to the milk slowly helps gradually change the ph instead of suddenly all at once.
– Keeping the two phases separate until the last minute and combining them at the same temperature helps also, though I don’t really know why.
So that was frugal soup #1 for lunch on root canal day. Frugal soup #2 for supper was a tuna vegetable chowder that we enjoy and that recipe is coming up next!