TOMATO FLORENTINE SOUP & AVOCADO HERB GRILLED CHEESE

Back in the day, when I was working in neuroscience, my labmates and I used to frequent this quaint tiny cafe in our building called Suzie's.  Their specialty - soup.  Their soups were so delicious and popular, you had to get there by 9 am to order them otherwise they'd be sold out.  I was particularly in love with the soup dujour:  Tomato Florentine - a hearty yet creamy tomato soup with spinach and basil.  They would have in once every couple weeks until they stopped making it!  Ah!  Apparently it was a seasonal fall item, so when I left that summer, I really missed that soup.  Last week I tried making it (fifth times the charm, right??) and I think I've got it.  Bye george, I've got it (cue My Fair Lady).

TOMATO FLORENTINE SOUP + AVOCADO GRILLED CHEESE RECIPES

KITCHEN  INSPIRED BY SUZIE'S CAFE + THE GREY DOG


INGREDIENTS  TOMATO FLORENTINE SOUP (SERVES 4-6)

  1. 1 (28 oz) can San Marzano tomatoes 
  2. 6 large basil leaves (chopped into long strips)
  3. 1 cup fresh spinach (chopped)
  4. 2 celery stalks (diced)
  5. 1 yellow onion (diced)
  6. 4-6 cloves of garlic (minced)
  7. 4 tbs butter
  8. 2 medium carrots (diced)
  9. 1/2 c chopped leeks
  10. 1/8 tsp lemon pepper
  11. 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  12. 1/8 tsp chili powder (optional)
  13. salt to taste (or himalayan pink salt if you have!)
  14. water to desired consistency

INSTRUCTIONS  TOMATO FLORENTINE SOUP

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium pot.
  2. Saute the garlic in the butter until slightly golden.
  3. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent.
  4. Add the chopped leeks and cook until translucent.
  5. Add the diced celery and cook until translucent.
  6. Add the diced carrots and cook until tender.
  7. Add the juice from the canned tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer.
  8. Add 2/3 of the tomatoes from the can (set aside the remaining 1/3).
  9. Let the mixture cool slightly and then blend until completely smooth.  
  10. Add the mixture back to the pot, and continue to cook on medium heat.  Add the chopped basil and spinach, remaining tomatoes and all spices. Stir until blended well.
  11. Bring to a simmer again before serving.

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INGREDIENTS  HERBED AVOCADO GRILLED CHEESE (SERVES 1)

  1. 1 tsp boursin garlic and herb cheese
  2. 1/4 celery stalk (diced)
  3. 1 piece of lettuce
  4. couple slices of onion
  5. 1/4 avocado (long slices)
  6. 2 slices toasted whole wheat bread