Winter has ArrivedWe've been the beneficiaries of this wacky winter it seems everyone is having.
We've had one previous, small snowfall, but that was at Halloween last year! No snow since then, except one morning with just a skiff.
Usually, we would have had one or two bigger storms by now. This is highly unusual.
Don't think for a minute that I am longing for the usual. No. Not me. I'm loving this less-than-usual-snowfalls-and-warmer-than-usual-temperatures winter we have been having.
Ah, but I guess it couldn't last forever. Not here. Not with this climate.
Sometimes the winter weather advisories bring us some beautiful weather.
Beautiful, as in, beauty. Pulchritudinous. As in, in the eye of the beholder. As in, picturesque, if I had had better lighting.
We had gotten about an inch of snow the night before, but instead of stopping during the early morning, it turned to freezing rain. Rain that freezes on contact.
Let's review: Rain is water that falls from the sky. When that water falls from the sky, it lands on something, possibly the ground or bushes. If that ground or bushes is covered in snow, that falling water is going to freeze on contact. That gives us ice. Ice on the ground. Ice on the snow. Ice on the bushes.
I took these pictures just as we were leaving the library. These bushes were bare of leaves, but full of ice.
Ice makes for some spectacular beauty.
I wish my pictures had captured what I was seeing. It was beautiful. It was spectacular.
Unfortunately, the weather was gray and overcast. See it in that top picture up there? That is the sky. Gray. Dark. Heavy.
If the sun had been shining, the ice bushes would have sparkled like no tomorrow. But it sun wasn't shining. Not at all. Not at any time during the day.
I had to take the beauty of the ice as it came. I still found it stunning.
Brrrr. I needed something hot. I needed some hot soup. Hot, gluten-free tomato bisque to the rescue!
What makes this an ideal soup for an ice storm is that it can be made completely from a well-stocked pantry and spice cabinet. No need to brave the icy streets that may or may not have been plowed. Just pull out that can opener and start cooking!
2 - 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 cubes gluten-free beef bouillon
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 - 12 oz. cans evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed)
Add the diced tomatoes, bouillon, sugar, salt, basil, pepper, and bay leaf to a large pot and cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
While that is simmering, in a small saucepan melt the butter. Whisk in the cornstarch and cook for 1 minute. Then whisk in evaporated milk. Keep whisking until thickened.
Use an immersion blender to purée the tomato mixture. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer the tomato mixture to a blender to purée it and then return it to the pot. Or you can just mash it all up good with a wooden spoon. Or you can leave the chunks of tomato in there. I like mine smooth. Make yours how you like it.
Then stir the thickened milk into the puréed tomato mixture. Stir throughly and serve.
This soup is thick and warm and satisfying. And it pairs perfectly with a gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich! That's another easy thing with a well-stocked pantry.
And you don't have to wait for the next ice storm to enjoy it!