Soups On!

Such a rainy day calls for a good soup - This is the perfect tomato soup recipe from Cooks Illustrated---rich and robust  flavor. 

Cream of Tomato Soup – Cooks Illustrated Magazine   Makes  5 ½ cups, serves 4-6

2 - 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, reserve juice  (or 2 cans of diced tomatoes)

1 ½  tablespoons dark brown sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

4 large shallots, minced (about 2/3 cup)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Pinch of Allspice

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ¾ cups low sodium chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons brandy

Cayenne pepper and table salt

Preheat oven to 450.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Spread tomatoes out in single layer and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake about 30 minutes, let cool slightly, set aside.  (this is what gives the soup rich flavor!)

Heat butter over medium heat in large saucepan, add shallots, tomato paste and allspice.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until shallots are soft about 7 minutes.  Add flour and whisk until combined.   Add reserved tomato juice, then the roasted tomatoes.

Using a hand held blender, puree until smooth.  Add cream and heat over low heat, stir in brandy, season with salt and cayenne pepper.

(Heart is made using a drop of heavy cream, formed by swirling a toothpick to shape and make dots)

Enjoy with fresh bread and a salad!                        Penny Rug created by Shelby Morris
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Valentine Cupcakes

These yummy Valentine cupcakes were made by Denise Marie (of the "Marie Club").  They were quick to do,  using a white cake mix and strawberry jello (follow jello recipe and set aside).  When the cupcakes come out of the oven, poke holes on the top and pour the jello mix in.  This makes them have white and red swirls!  For frosting she used  1 cup powdered sugar sifted, blend with  1 cup of butter softened at room temp and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Decorate to your delight.

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