No, I'm not referring to the baby. Although she has had some questionable evenings of late between learning to walk well, getting some new teeth, and finding her will (polite way to say freaking out at the slightest provocation or intimation of the word "no").
I'm talking about fussy recipes. In general, I don't like them. Most people don't. There are a lot of areas in life that demand our attention - why fuss over the food? Just buy good ingredients, prepare them simply, and they speak for themselves.
That's my philosophy in general, anyway. However, I just finished a fussy recipe that was so totally worth it. It is an adaptation of America's Test Kitchen's Cream of Tomato Soup. You may not have the patience to muddle through all of these steps, and if you don't, I understand. But this is how you can capture the flavor of summer in liquid form. Trust me.
Creamy Tomato Soup
2 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 T brown sugar (use honey if you don't want refined sugar)
1/2 C minced shallot (3-4 shallots)
4 T butter
2 T flour (whatever kind - AP, sprouted, whole wheat)
2 C chicken stock
1/2 C heavy cream
2 T sherry
salt and pepper
First, deal with the tomatoes. This is better done the night before or some other time before you want to make the soup so you don't spend 400 hours in one day in the kitchen. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Score the tomatoes at one end (make a shallow "x" with a sharp knife). Drop them into the boiling water and let them float for 45 seconds. Pull them out with a slotted spoon and place them in the ice water. Leave the boiling water on the heat. Let the tomatoes sit for a few minutes in the ice bath, then pull the skins off. They should peel pretty easily.
Cut the cores out of the tomatoes without disturbing the juicy part (cut a circle with the diameter around the core end). Take the peeled and cored tomatoes and put them back in the boiling water for five minutes. Pull them out with the slotted spoon and put in a container. Put them in the refrigerator until you are ready to make soup. (Incidentally, you can can or freeze your tomatoes from this point to put them up for winter.)
On soup day, preheat your oven to 450. Take the peeled, cored, and cooked tomatoes out of the fridge. Place a layer of tin foil on a baking sheet. Put a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, and use your fingers to break open each tomato, reaming the juice and seeds out over the sieve into the bowl. Also reserve whatever juice was left in the container that the tomatoes overnighted in the fridge in. Then take the flattened tomatoes and lay them out onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and place in the oven. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are lightly browned - about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add minced shallots and cook until they are soft - 5 or 7 minutes. Add the flour and stir continuously for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, making sure it is well incorporated. Add whatever juices are left from reaming the tomatoes over the sieve and the container from the fridge (I had about 1 1/2 cups). Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Add the roasted tomatoes, peeled from the tin foil. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use a blender to puree in small batches (or use an immersion blender in the pot).
Add the cream to the pureed soup and warm over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add sherry. Salt and pepper to taste.
This made about four servings. I suppose it depends on how juicy your tomatoes are.
So, there you have it. Are you not slightly exhausted after just reading this recipe? But take my word for it - it was worth it. Even with a demented 17-month-old underfoot mixing the dog's food with the dog's water and eating half of it while I was making this. Couldn't possibly make that up.