Friends who know me know I’ve always had a very positive attitude and tend to see the glass as half full, not half empty!

So when it comes to fall and winter, I love the change in seasons because it means all sorts of delicious dishes are headed my way. And, despite virtual school and the encroaching dark and rain, this makes me (and those I am cooking for) very happy.

Nothing is more iconic than homemade tomato soup, which conjures up sweet childhood food memories. My family serves this Provençal-inspired recipe with a dollop of crème fraîche throughout the winter months and sometimes into spring!

Feel free to serve your soup alone, with toasted baguette slices, a toasted cheese sandwich, tortilla chips (splash in a few drops of lime juice) or whatever strikes your fancy!

I hope this makes you smile, too.

Tomato soup

Equipment:
Heavy casserole or large pot
Blender or food processor
Baking sheet

Ingredients:
16 tomatoes, cut in half
Pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup tomato juice
4 cups chicken stock or broth (to make a vegan version, use veggie stock)
Salt and pepper to taste
Baguette, cut into half-inch thick slices, brushed with olive oil
Flake salt

1. Place your halved tomatoes face down in a heavy casserole or large cast iron pan, sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the pan and, at medium-low heat, pan roast the tomatoes for about 25 minutes, turning a few times (watch for burning!). Halfway through, add in your onion and half of your chopped garlic. Cover and continue to roast. Tomatoes are done when they have shrunk a bit and are wrinkled in appearance.

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2. Stir contents of pan and when onions are tender, a few minutes more, add your tomato juice and stock. Bring the contents of your pan to a boil and boil for five to 10 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the stove very carefully (so you don’t get burned!). I use a ladle to transfer the contents of the pan into the blender. In small batches, purée your tomato mixture in a blender or food processor. Return the contents of the blender to the pan, add the remainder of your garlic and warm through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place your baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle flake salt over the bread and gently press it into the slices. Bake for 15 minutes or until the slices are golden brown. I occasionally add some shredded Parmesan in the last few minutes of baking if I want the grilled cheese taste!

5. Pour your soup into bowls and float a baguette slice on top — or you can add some julienned basil, a dollop of crème fraîche or a few drops of lime juice.

Enjoy!