The Splendid Table's Soup and Salad

Oh, salad.  Not sure I've ever craved you and your vitamins as much as I do today.

Because it's still Christmas in my book, I'm giving you a Christmas bonus.  This is no jelly-of-the-month club, but two recipes in one post is my treat to you.

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year (aside from the brand new lens my husband picked out.  He nailed it!) is my new cookbook: The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper.

My Dad says:  You need a book to tell you how to do that?!  Here, I'll show you!  (Picture enthusiastic fork-to-mouth hand gestures).  But, this is so much more than a cookbook or an instruction manual on how to use your utensils.  Should I try and convince you, too? 

How to Eat Supper is a thoughtful gathering of recipes, stories, culinary techniques, and kitchen know-how that evaluates the role that food plays in the American family, as well as the world that surrounds the food that shows up on our plates.  Woa. 

The authors challenge us to care more about our food and the way it's prepared, in a refreshingly non-stuffy, non-lecturing, non-aggravating way.  It's thought-provoking in a way I didn't know a cookbook could be, and I'm pouring through it like a novel.

As 2012 gets ready to come bursting through the door, something I'd like to work on this year will be to cook with more thought, and maybe a touch more culinary skill.  I haven't really nailed down what that means to me yet, but this book will help.  Expect to hear more.

Speaking of help, my waistline could use some serious attention after a much-enjoyed weekend's worth of indulgence and cookies.  So. many. cookies.

Anisette Rings.  The best!
I think December 26th should be national soup and salad day, don't you?  Soup, to keep the soul toasty and the warmth of Christmas Day alive, and salad, because let's face it: a few green vegetables and some lean protein are probably smart at this point. 

The Splendid Table's traditional tomato soup and no-mayo tuna salad are a glorious pairing on this chilly evening.  Serve both with crusty bread, and toast your good health and good choices.  You deserve it!

Provencal Tuna Salad
Adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper
Yields 2-4 servings
2 6-ounce cans water-packed albacore tuna, thoroughly drained
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
3 tbs capers, drained
1/4 c red onion, chopped
1/4 c fresh dill, chopped
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 c salad greens

Turn the drained tuna into a large bowl, and break it into chunks with a fork.  Fold in the tomatoes, olives, capers, onion, and dill.

In a separate small bowl, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss to blend.  If time allows, let it stand at room temperature for an hour. 

Serve over the mixed salad greens.

South of France Tomato Soup
Adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper
Yields 3-4 servings
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c tomato paste
1/3 c dry vermouth
28-ounce can whole tomatoes with their liquid, crushed by hand
2 14-ounce cans fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine the dried herbs in a small cup.  Crush them lightly with the back of a spoon until they become fragrant, and set aside.
Coat a large pot with olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat.  Stir in the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until they are golden brown, about 5-8 minutes, stirring often.  Add the reserved herbs and garlic.  Continue cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Blend in the tomato paste until there are no lumps.

No lumps!
Add the vermouth and tomatoes.  Boil for 2 minutes.

Stir in the broth, and bring to a boil.  When boiling, reduce the heat to a light simmer, and cover the pot.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the cinnamon, and season with salt/pepper as needed.  Serve immediately.

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