Many years ago, the year I had moved out from my parents home, I received a cookbook from my mom and dad. To this day, it is still a cookbook I love looking for recipes in first. The copy of the book has been through many moves, including even one overseas, has food splatters on it, and got soaked in a water main flooding. Still, this book is perfect, and I can't wait to order a copy for my own daughter when she moves out one day. The book is called "Ich helf Dir kochen" by Hedwig Maria Stuber which practically translates to "I'm helping you cook".
Helping me cook, it sure did. I had helped my mom in the kitchen growing up, but was mostly reduced to easy activities like peeling potatoes, cooking the pasta, or stirring the batter for a quick bundt cake. Seasoning the meals was something that my mother always took into her own hands, and she still does to this day. So after I had moved out, I needed to teach myself how to cook from "scratch". Let's just say, my poor husband got served a lot of Schnitzel, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese (which I had just discovered after meeting him) and for some reason, oodles of white rice and gravy. He didn't seem to mind at the time, since we were young and in love (we are still the latter but certainly not young anymore), although I'm pretty sure he is glad that my recipe repertoire, along with my abilities, have increased over the years.
This soup was actually one of the first recipes I made out of the book. I had received some zucchinis and tomatoes from my mom's garden and was looking for a dish to make. I don't care for eating many soups in the hot summer months, but this one tastes best if made when the plants are ready for harvesting, plus it is so light tasting that I don't mind. The tomatoes definitely need to be at their prime for this soup. The soup takes start to finish about 25 minutes. The zucchini, onions, and garlic are cooked in olive oil for a bit, then fresh tomatoes along with seasonings are added to the mixture. After the vegetables are soft, you can add either chicken or vegetable broth (to keep it vegetarian) and the cooked soup is blended. For the final touch, heavy cream is added to the mixture for a wonderful creaminess.
I love this soup, and so does the rest of my family. I like to serve it for a quick dinner along with sandwiches, but it also makes for a great light lunch. I've certainly come a long way since the days of easy, repetitive meals, but this soup still remains a favorite!
1 pound zucchini, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 vine tomatoes, skinned and chopped*
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
* To skin tomatoes, cut an x in the bottom of the tomato with a sharp knife and submerge in boiling water for a few minutes. Add a few ice cubes, let sit for 30 seconds and drain. The skins should slide right off.
In a large pot, add zucchini and onion to oil. Saute for a couple of minutes, add the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 10 minutes more. Add the chicken (or vegetable) broth and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Add the soup to your blender* and puree in a couple of batches, adding the heavy cream to the final batch. Add soup back to the pot and stir to combine.
*Alternately you can leave the soup in the pot, and blend with an Immersion Hand Blender until desired consistency. Add the heavy cream and give it a final whirl.
Adapted from: Ich helf Dir kochen