Saturday, October 4, 2008

Soup Nazi

There is this eatery about a quarter-block away from the ranch called Elephant's deli. Colette and I have no choice but to admire it from afar because, like everything else in this trendy shit hole known as NW Portland, it is out of our price range. Although right before close, choice perishable items can be had at discounted prices. With this said, I made the mistake of falling in love with a raspberry vinaigrette they serve with salads and quesadillas. Upon a revisit to Elephant's weeks later, and after many-a mention to friends about the vinaigrette's splendid nature and potential cancer curing attributes, I found out it was 6 dollars a bottle! "What the fuck?!" I said as I turned over the bottle to unveil the dressings hefty price tag. I refuse to pay 6 dollars for salad dressing (truth be known I have a 2.50 dollar cut off for such items - Private Selection Honey Mustard is on sale for 2 dollars right now!). The only time paying 6 dollars for salad dressing would be acceptable will be when hyperinflation sets in. I should be careful for what I wish for.

So any time I walk past or anytime anyone mentions "Elephant's deli," I am consumed with a myriad of raw emotions ranging from glee; memories of a spectacular quesadilla; to bargaining, "why can't I afford you Elephant's!?!, I'll do anything to obtain you!" and of course, who could leave out jealousy/bitter resentment/anger; "fuck you yuppies and your high paying jobs! I hope your BMW SUV explodes and the last thing you smell are those 9 dollar quesidilla's burning along side of you in your front seat!" OK, so the "bargaining" emotion may have been a little over the top but the other two emotions are very, very real.

I was in for a pleasant treat when Colette located a recipe for Elephant's Deli Tomato Soup. While my only expierences with tomato soup have been from a can marked "Campbell's" on the side, I naturally was open to a homemade alternative. I figured if a deli could produce a rasperry vinagerette, that I was so passionate about I would be willing to take another man's life for it, then I would probably enjoy their tomato soup offering.

Colette has been delving into a variety of homemade soups of late. First, it was her crockpot chili dish that lead me to believe that, after two years of avoiding the kitchen entirely, she could indeed cook. Second, a tasty split pea number that keeps getting better with age. Third, when she said was going to tackle this "Elephant's Deli Tomato Soup," I knew she was going to knock it dead.

With that said, as with most situations in life that involve the possibility for prolonged hunger, I had a backup plan. I simply ate enough food to keep me satietied and not enough to tip off her radar as to what I was doing while she was preparing the soup. Call it what you will; being prepared, plan b, or not being up shit creek without a paddle - I just loathe being hungry.

Since I've written an entire blog about this soup, you can probably guess as to where it's going. It was absolutely amazing. It's easily in my top 10 foods ever (this is a big deal, I eat a lot of food)!


1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a saucepan, melt butter; add onion and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, baking soda and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Puree in a food processor or blender; strain through a sieve or food mill. (The Soup Lady likes a little texture and uses a hand held immersion blender for this.)

Return to saucepan and stir in orange juice. At this point, the soup can be refrigerated until ready to serve. (Colette and I determined you can stop here. Try it without the cream, you will be pleasantly suprised! - I was thinking it would be very tasty atop a bed of noodles. Nonetheless, it's spectacular being guzzled in soup form)

At serving time, add the whipping cream and heat gently, stirring constantly, bringing to a simmer and adjust seasonings if necessary. Extra cream maybe drizzled on top of the soup immediately before serving for decorative effect.

1 comment:

Pa! said...

The photo shop chop, made me giggle.