Blogging on a rainy Sunday – it feels so familiar and so right. I’m thrilled to be creating, photographing, and writing again. I’d been stuck in a food blog rut, lacking even a drop of inspiration, and feeling pretty burnt out. But these past couple of months have been such happy ones, filled with both peace and excitement. And also change. Lots and lots of change…
In the last six months, I started my new job at Summit Public Schools and then got bumped to a new and even better position within the organization (yay!). Karl returned to medical school and, shortly after, made the big decision to leave the program to pursue a career in computer science – his first love. Now I’m a business systems analyst and he’s a happy Noogler. Life has been so good to us, but I’m so sure the world is suddenly spinning faster and faster.
The other night, I asked Karl, “Did we just become real grown-ups?” We’ve merged our finances, which was a huge step for us, and to be honest, a big headache! Next on our adult to-do list: get our parents together for the first time. Gulp.
When my food blog muse returned from vacation, this bisque appeared in my mind. I had tried (and loved) something similar to it at the cafe near work; I wanted to play with the flavors at home. Fennel bulbs, underrated as vegetables go, have a fantastic licorice flavor, and they’re especially good sauteed (then blended in soup of course).
This tomato soup is not your average joe by any means. It’s intense, rich, and has a ton of flavor, and it’s so nice to have on a chilly, rainy day at home. I highly recommend whipping up Anne Burrell’s foccacia bread to serve with the soup – they were meant for each other!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1½ cup diced onion
- 1½ cup chopped fennel bulb (the white part only)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed Italian plum tomatoes
- 1 heaping tablespoon sugar
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the onion and fennel, and continue cooking until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Purée the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Reheat the soup in the pot over medium heat, then add goat cheese. Stir constantly until the cheese melts into the soup. Season with crushed red pepper flakes (option) and more salt and pepper to taste, then serve.