Herbed Cream of Tomato • Romaine with Celery, Radishes, and Celery-Mustard Dressing • Levain Rolls • Peanut Butter Cookies
I understand from books and television that many folks have a nostalgic, comforting connection to cream of tomato soup. I don’t. Andy Warhol aside, I don’t find canned tomato soup to be iconically wonderful, I just think it tastes like sugar water. (Not that I’m anti-Campbell’s; I do have a nostalgic, comforting connection to several casseroles made with Campbell’s soup.) It wasn’t until I grew up and had homemade tomato soup that I discovered that tomato soup can be delicious.
It’s a simple soup, with just a few ingredients besides the tomatoes—onions and garlic, a few carrots for extra sweetness, a handful of rice for body—but sometimes simple soups are exactly what is called for. A swirl of herbed cream elevates dinner to special-treat status. Hold your nose over the bowl when you pour in the cream: the heat of the soup releases the fragrance of the herbs, the scent of tarragon and fennel and chives wafting upwards with the steam.
The salad is another simple-but-special one today. What makes it special is Adriana’s celery. What magic does she have that her celery is so darned delicious? And it comes to market so fresh that the leaves are beautiful, too. I almost pulled the leaves off to put in the salad just as they are, but I didn’t have quite enough of them, so I used them in the dressing instead. They went into the blender with a good dollop of mustard and strong Sherry vinegar, all those assertive flavors making their presence known. Yum!
Tomato soup seems so traditionally American, and I wanted a dessert to match. There’s nothing much more American than peanut butter, so peanut butter cookies seemed like the obvious choice. Plus, I love them, and so does Harper, so it’s good to have a few extra stashed in the kitchen. For those of you who were worried about me, thank you for your kind words and your concern. I’m being very careful. I’m doing a better job of planning ahead so I’ve reduced my grocery store trips to once a week; the farmer’s market is much safer because it’s open-air. My dad gave me an N95 mask that he was using for woodworking, so I wear that at the grocery store and the market. My parents have started a cloth-mask-making factory at their dining room table, and we’ve all got cloth masks to wear outside on walks. I wear a mask whenever I’m at my parents’ house cooking, and I wear it during deliveries, too. As a single mom, I’m hyper-aware that I need to protect myself so that I can take care of my kids; that adage about “put your own mask on first” rings true—literally!—these days.