Cream of Tomato Soup

Tomatoes, America's favorite "vegetable," are the fruit of a South American vine. They were not well accepted at first, as the tomato was thought to be a poisonous member of the deadly nightshade family. Tomatoes contain lycopene, the most protective antioxidant of all carotenoids. That is what gives tomatoes their red color. Oil helps the absorption of lycopene and tomatoes that have been heat-processed are the most healthy. Stewed canned tomatoes work well in this recipe. This soup is lost without grilled cheese sandwiches.

    1 cup chopped yellow onion
    ¼ cup butter
    3 cups hot water
    1 tablespoon chicken base
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    2 (14 ½-ounce) Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
    1 (6-ounce) can Italian tomato paste
    1 dried bay leaf
    1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
    1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
    ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
    ⅓ cup whipping cream

1.  In a 5-quart nonstick sauté pan, fry the onions in the butter
     over medium heat until translucent.

2.  Stir the chicken base into the hot water.

3.  Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle onions with flour.

4.  Whisk well, then add the chicken stock. Cook 1 minute or
      until smooth.

5.  Add the undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, sugar,
     garlic salt and pepper. Use a potato masher to mash 1 minute.

6.  Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, then pour into a large sieve
     set over a glass bowl. Press the tomatoes with the back of a
     wooden spoon for one minute. Discard skins and onions.
     Stir the whipping cream into the soup.

7.  Serve soup in bowls, decorated with more whipping cream
     piped in a swirl. To make a flower pattern, alternately pull a
     toothpick in and out of the cream swirl. Garnish with fresh
     basil in the middle of the cream flower if desired.

     Makes 4 side soup servings