Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide!

This year, Christmas is going to be all about the baby. We're making handmade and edible gifts, as usual, but I still love to virtually window shop this time of year. Here are some of my favorite shops:

1. Etsy!!! I can't say enough about Etsy! I could spend hours on this site, especially in the Treasury section.
hand warmers
Jupiter Tee
Fire Plushie
2. MoMA Store. Modern design for every facet of your life.
Banksy Note Cards
Pig Cooking Lid
BLOC Watch
Fruit Rattles
3. Fishseddie.com.  Super cool housewares!
Bicycle Mug
Intervention-ware Mug
Rest in Grease Spoonrest
4. Plasticland.  Kitch and Retro Clothing and Accessories.
Weirdo Noir book
Snake Charmer Tee
Ray Gun Ornaments
Thanks for Being Stamp
5. The Monster Company.  This site just has some wonderful movie memorabilia.
Labrynth Door Knockers
6. Think Geek. Anything and everything for that special nerd in your life.
Desktop Carnivorous Plant
Caffeine Molecule Necklace
Baby Cthulhu Tee
There are many more to choose from, but this is a good start. Happy shopping!

Tomato Soup

Lately I've been obsessed with Tomato Soup. I've lost all taste for Campbell's, so I had to improvise. Luckily Short Pump Town Center has a Nordstrom Cafe, who makes the world's best Tomato Soup. Unfortunately, it's five dollars a bowl, which is not bad if you are a normal person and not a pregnant soup-sucking machine. It's becoming an expensive addiction. I've decided that it's time for me to buckle down and make my own soup.

Today I made a small batch of my standby recipe, one that I adapted from Cook's Illustrated. It's thick, tangy, and easy to make. Here's the original recipe:

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup
Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion , chopped medium (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 large slices good-quality sandwich bread , crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives 


1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.


2. Transfer half of soup to blender. Add 1 tablespoon oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. Rinse out Dutch oven and return soup to pot. Stir in chicken broth and brandy (if using). Return soup to boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup in individual bowls. Sprinkle each portion with pepper and chives and drizzle with olive oil.

When I make this soup, I usually use an immersion blender instead of a blender, and add a little sour cream in the bowl.

Today's batch was delicious as always, but not what I wanted. If you've ever been pregnant you'll know that no matter how good something is, it's never going to take the place of something you can't stop thinking about. I want my Nordstrom soup.  

After eating more than my fill of not-what-I-want soup, I found a recipe online for a recipe that is supposed to be super close to Nordstom's. I think I'll wait until next week to try it, but I'll definitely post about how it turns out.