Classic Tomato Soup and First Saturday Artwalk

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I've been snatching up cherry tomatoes as if there is going to be shortage or severe price hike on them soon.  Do you ever eat the yellow cherry tomatoes?  They are so sweet and flavorful.

I've been trying to encourage my kids to randomly grab a handful of cherry tomatoes throughout the day so they can consume more veggies.  I haven't had much luck, however, so an abundance of these little jewels was piling up.

What to do?  How to get teens to eat more vegetables? Make soup.  Tomato Soup.  And...have really good toasted croutons to go with it.

I love soups.  I could live off soups and thick crusty bread.  I really didn't want these tomatoes to go to waste so I thought I would try my hand at throwing together enough ingredients to make a tomato soup. Sans recipe!

I grabbed some garlic and basil and stewed them together with basically whatever I had on hand...some shallots, and a container of chicken broth.  It's hard to eat big meals when it's so hot outside.  I know soup is hot, but it's a light enough meal for these days when nothing more is really desired.

I cut up chunks of whole grain bread, gently cooked them in butter in a sauté pan on the stove with chopped sage leaves.  Once they have picked up the flavor, lay them out on a try and bake them on low in the oven until crunchy... about 20 - 25 minutes.  

Patrick and I wanted to go off and check out Houston's "First Friday Art Walk".  Lucky for us, the temperatures were balmy and it turned out to be a pleasant evening for strolling and admiring eclectic artwork.

We expected the art walk to be on a grand scale of everything else in Houston.  As we pulled up to the white tents, we slipped easily into an ample parking lot without any hassle.  There was a definite low-key vibe to the neighborhood-like scene. It promised to be a quaint and scenic walk...two words not necessarily used in describing activities in Houston.

I especially liked those Asian bowls with the holes in them for chopsticks.  How nifty is that?  I might have to go back for one of those.

Even though the art walk was small in scale, the artwork, pottery, jewelry, and various other craftwork was top notch.  People were laughing and strolling.  There was a definite neighborhood feeling in the air.  Block party.  That is what it reminded me of....a neighborhood block party.

Patrick noticed a "food truck" parked in front of the art stalls selling cupcakes.  He happily trotted back with cupcake in hand.  "Take your time, honey" he munched contentedly with frosting tipping his mustache.

People-watching was excellent.  All sorts of people were mingling and admiring the artwork and deciding on some interesting and fun purchases.

The diversity of artwork from stoneware pottery to metallic art sculptures, hand-painted Ukrainian eggs with beeswax, and richly carved wooden canes complimented the interests of the people strolling along.

We thought the Snowball truck was fun.  So appropriate for these long hot days in the south.  Little ones were enjoying being wheeled around and this little one {above} was already snuggled in for the night.

Houston has entertained us at every season so far.  The Houston First Saturday Artwalk was  personable in character, talented in artistry, and sweetly tucked into a neighborhood area that lent charm and sophistication to this monthly city event.  

Classic Tomato Soup:


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot sliced
1 yellow onion sliced
3-4 garlic pods, sliced
3 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
Dash of white wine

1 box chicken broth
Splash of half and half {or cream} to your taste
Salt and Pepper

Take a large sauté pan and heat the olive oil.  Sauté the onions and shallots until soft.  Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the cherry tomatoes and stir vegetables to keep garlic from burning.  When all of the vegetables look soft, add the chopped basil leaves.  Pour in the chicken broth.  Add the dash of white wine.  Cover sauté pan and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Add a splash of cream depending on how creamy of soup desired.  Ladle soup a spoonful at a time into a blender and purée until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

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