Overcast days call for soup's warm embrace

February 27, 2013 

With the damp weather along the Gulf Coast, it is certainly time to put on a pot of soup.

A reader from up North asked for an old-fashioned tomato soup recipe, and a fellow reader, who asked "please do not use my name," has an old recipe for him. I found three others, one from the late Waylon Jennings, another from a guest ranch in Colorado and one from "Best of the Best From Mississippi Cookbooks."

These soups would be good with a sandwich or just by themselves. Grilled cheese sandwiches seem to be the perfect accompaniment for tomato soup. Perhaps I am going back to my childhood on that one.

Readers, if you have any other tomato soup recipes, please feel free to share.

"This is a very simple 60- to 70-year-old recipe. My mother always made this for me when I was home ill with a cold. I was a fussy eater, but I loved this soup," a reader said.

TOMATO SOUP

1 pint tomatoes, strained (she canned her own)

1- 1/2 cups milk

Heat tomatoes with a pinch of soda. Bring to a boil. Add milk and reheat.

-- Submitted by a reader

The late singer Waylon Jennings once said of his soup, "You'll always want way more."

WAYMORE'S TOMATO FLORENTINE SOUP

1 large onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups finely diced celery

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 (14- 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

2 (14- 1/2 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

2 (14- 1/2 ounce) cans tomato wedges

2 (10- 1/2 ounce) cans tomato soup

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1- 1/2 teaspoons salt

8 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth

2 cups finely chopped fresh spinach

8 ounces dry pasta shells or baby bowtie pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions

4 ounces Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon cream or evaporated skim milk

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Fresh ground black pepper

Sauté the onion, garlic and celery in olive oil in a Dutch oven and cook until tender, but not brown. Add the next 8 ingredients and simmer for 2 hours.

Stir in the chopped spinach and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add the cooked pasta. Do not cook the pasta in the soup or it will get overcooked and mushy.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese, cream, parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 8-10 servings.

-- From "Twenty-Five Years with Waylon and Still Cooking," by Jessi Colter and Maureen Raffety

NORTH FORK TOMATO CHEDDAR SOUP

1/4 of a No. 10 can whole tomatoes with juice (a No. 10 can is 96 ounces; 24 ounces is1/4 of a No. 10 can)

1/4 of a No. 10 can tomato sauce

1 (8-ounce) can V-8 juice

3/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Dash of Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon horseradish

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Mash whole tomatoes and all other ingredients, except the cheese. Heat thoroughly. Add cheese to soup just before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

-- From "The All-American Cowboy Cookbook"

FRESH TOMATO-RICE SOUP

1- 1/2 cups chopped onions

2 tablespoons bacon drippings

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

4 cups water

1- 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped

1/3 cup raw white rice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook onions in drippings and margarine in a 3-quart saucepan, over medium heat, stirring often until browned, 6-7 minutes.

Add water and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until rice is tender.

Yields 6 servings.

-- From "Barbara's Been Cookin'"

Persimmon pudding

"At one time this summer, you put in a recipe for persimmon pudding that will last a long while in the refrigerator. I have lost the one from the newspaper, and the ones on Internet are not the same," said Jane Poole. "Many of my friends like it very much, and the one I got from somewhere else did not turn out the same texture or color when cooked."

Author Carolyn Haines shared that persimmon pudding recipe with me. Here it is:

PERSIMMON PUDDING

Cream together:

1-1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

3 eggs

Add in:

1- 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Mix in:

2 cups persimmon pulp

2- 1/2 cups evaporated milk

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Bake at 350 in a 9-by-9-inch pan for 1 hour. OK -- pull it out when done, let it cool, then I like to refrigerate it and serve it with real whipped cream.

-- Submitted by Carolyn Haines

Still looking

A reader wants former restaurateur Bill Vrazel's crab casserole recipe.

"I still miss the crab casserole," she said. "I ate the crab dish and the spinach every time I went there. Can you get the recipe?"

Bill, will you share the recipe? I know readers would love to have it.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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