If there’s one thing I really love about my hometown, it’s the fact that the beach is only just a 30-minute ride away. It’s the convenience of running away for an hour, and then going back to school to face reality once again over 10 songs inside the car—I could not do that in Manila or Los Banos.
It’s been a daunting week for me, because I’ve been preparing for my college graduation. Hence, all my subjects are demanding so much. The other day, I asked myself if someone were to wave a magic wand and make all my problems disappear, would I become, in time, the happiest person alive? Will I have the perfect day anyone could probably have?
I read a book the other week. It said that once you get your fingers on the important questions, you
can’t turn away from them. As I see it, they have nothing to do with perfection. It has something to do with love, responsibility, spirituality, and awareness.
Perfect Valentine’s dinner at our house – homemade tomato soup with crispy grilled cheese sandwich croutons. I made somebody around here pretty happy!
If you don’t want to take the time to make your soup from scratch, it’s not as good, but canned tomato soup can work in a pinch.
Homemade tomato soup, modified slightly from Chowhound. Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in their juices, preferably San Marzanos
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oil and butter over medium-low heat and add the onion and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is completely soft, about 10 minutes. (If at any point the onion looks like it’s beginning to brown, reduce the heat.) Add the garlic and optional red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan. Cook until they’re beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the broth or water, sugar, and bring to a simmer. Cook at a medium simmer until the tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, make two grilled cheese sandwiches and keep warm on the skillet until soup is ready. (Time accordingly.)
Purée the soup directly in the saucepan using an immersion blender, or use a countertop blender, carefully puréeing the soup in a couple of batches until smooth.
Return the soup to the burner over low heat and stir in the cream. Add black pepper, then taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt or pepper as needed. Serve in warmed bowls and top with bite-size pieces of sandwich.