Planning the menu with a hurricane in the forecast is a tricky task. Do you stock the fridge with loads of fresh fruits and veggies to see you through the stormy weekend, or do you go the canned-goods route in the event you should lose power? For the first time in a long time I felt completely dazed and confused as I wandered the usually familiar aisles of my local grocery store.
I knew I was supposed to get some just-in-case pantry stuff, but for a passionate cook so accustomed to making things from scratch I was shocked and appalled at what I faced in the canned goods aisle. I’m sorry, but how much sodium is in this supposedly lower sodium soup? How much are they charging for this tiny jar of tomato sauce – I could make 2 batches of fresh sauce for the cost. Ewww – they actually sell canned pesto? I ended up coming home with a bunch of fresh summer veggies and called it a day. Then I flipped on CNN-mageddon and flew back to the store. I was able to swallow purchasing some canned tuna, boxed soups, and no-salt-added beans. I’m kind-of anal-retentive about keeping my pantry nicely stocked with various grains, rice and pasta regardless of the forecast, so I figured we’d be OK.
Some areas around here (here being Fairfield County, CT) were pretty badly hit, and even now 4 full days after the storm many schools are closed and homes still without power. Fortunately our power held, though we were without TV/Internet for a couple of days. And thankfully, the night of the big storm, we were able to cozy up and enjoy this fresh summer soup – the perfect remedy for forgetting about whirling winds and rain outside.
ratatouille soup with melted gruyere croutons
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 yellow summer squash, diced
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled (optional), and diced
- 6 Roma Tomatoes, cored and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp herbes de Provence
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can no-salt-added butter beans (optional)
- 4 thick slices baguette
- 1 cup coarsely grated gruyere cheese
- salt/pepper to taste
1. Heat 2-3 Tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened but not browned, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the herbes de Provence and 1 tsp salt. Add the zucchini, summer squash and eggplant. Cook until vegetables are somewhat softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the Roma tomatoes and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes and beans (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes to meld flavors.
2. Preheat the broiler. Brush the bread with olive oil and broil until lightly toasted, 2-3 minutes. Top with the cheese, and broil until melted, about 1 minute more.
3. Ladle soup into bowls and top each bowl with one gruyere crouton.
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine