I Say Tomato, You Say Potato

by paige on August 18, 2009



ARE WE ADDLED YET? Has the heat cooked your brain, softened your resolve, wilted your garden? Why yes, I say, to all three, which is perhaps why, when the Rock and I were washing our slender haul of assorted love apples from the garden yesterday, I didn’t bother to correct her when she insisted the tomatoes were potatoes and ate more carrots than she washed. It’s too hot to argue. It’s too hot to do much of anything, which is why I say: Make soup. (Does this seem proof positive that I’m not thinking clearly? No, no, I promise, this is good advice–read on.)

I’ve written before about the greatest tomato soup ever concocted , which is, in fact, also carrot soup. (Potatoes are not involved. Are you confused yet? Good. We’re on the same page.) I usually make it in the winter time, when canned tomatoes and carrots provide a warming reminder that someday, the snow will melt and we’ll once again see green, red and orange instead of white, gray, and slush.

But this time of year, the only thing I want to eat (except for pie, and potato salad) is cold soup. So I’m making the Greatest Tomato Soup, only I’m using fresh tomatoes instead of canned, and adding a gentle hit of cream or creme fraiche at the end to blend the flavors together. Same soup, entirely different day, and so refreshing that I almost (almost) can remember my own name.

Curried Carrot and Tomato Soup
Serves 8

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups carrots: peeled, cut into 1 to 1-1/2 inch chunks (or just cheat, and use “baby” carrots)
1 Tablespoon curry powder (mild or hot, to your taste)
2 pints fresh tomatoes, any varieties, cut into rough chunks
4 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth or water
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add onion, and sauté over medium heat until golden and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook for about five minutes until they’re wilted, giving up their juices. A little browning is OK, but don’t let the mixture burn. Add carrots and curry powder, and continue to cook for 10 minutes more, until the carrots just begin to soften.

Finally, add the stock or water, and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook until the carrots are soft enough to purée, about 15 minutes more. Run the mixture through a food mill (or purée with a hand bender; the former gives a smoother texture and takes out the skins and seeds from the tomatoes). Chill thoroughly, or for best flavor, overnight. Stir in the cream or creme fraiche, add the fresh basil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

summerfest badgeThanks for attending Summer Fest, a four-week cross-blog celebration of fresh-from-the-garden food ideas, co-created (alphabetically listed) by A Way to Garden, Mattbites, Steamy Kitchen, and White on Rice Couple, with guest appearances from Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done and Paige of The Sister Project (hey, that’s me!). And from you—that’s critical. Your contributions are desired, and needed, whether growing tips or recipes or anything at all on topic.

So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip for something wonderful with stone fruit? Leave it in the comments below, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same. The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits.

If you wish, grab the juicy tomato badge (illustrated by Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites) and make a whole post on your blog on this week’s topic, to really jump into the sauce. Up to you: A whole post, a comment; badge, no badge—whatever you wish. (It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious.)

And in case I forget, won’t somebody remind me on Twitter? Thanks. We’ll be talking it up there, too.

The Summer Fest 2009 schedule: Tuesday, July 28: HERBS. Any and all. Tuesday, August 4: FRUITS FROM TREES (also known as stone fruits, but we tossed in a berry or three, too). Tuesday, August 11: BEANS-AND-GREENS WEEK (either or both). Tuesday, August 18: TOMATO WEEK. How do you like them love apples?

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef August 18, 2009 at 7:53 am

Your soup looks delicious! My favorite tomato recipe is sooooo simple. Slow-roasted tomatoes. Sometimes I add them to pesto, sometimes I eat them w/ mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil and basil. Other times I add them to pasta as a “sauce” because the flavor is so intense! I also bake them w/ zucchini. Happy Summer Fest!

marionroach August 18, 2009 at 8:15 am

Are we addled yet? Yes. Are we confused yet? Absolutely. It’s almost back to school, and we might make it, especially if we self-medicate with this wonderful soup. Thanks, sister. I’m on it.

Deborah Mele August 18, 2009 at 9:00 am

Your soup sounds wonderful. I will have to give it a try!

My hands down favorite pasta sauce in the summer is this no cook one that when mixed with hot pasta just explodes with flavor.

And we all love our salads in the summer especially when gorgeous tomatoes are everywhere! Here is my easy Heirloom Tomato Salad With Goat Cheese Crumbles at


Keith Alexander August 18, 2009 at 9:20 am

Not addled in the least, but confounded by my lack of tomatoes this season. In order to make this mouth-watering soup, I’ll need to stop by the farmer’s market again.

Such wonderful recipes shared on the Sister Project, thanks Paige! I’m in an acidic mood, maybe I’ll make another batch of Anastasia and T’s Lemon Bars for dessert:

Kristina August 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

I love homemade tomato soup. I sometimes roast a bunch of tomato and onions and then just puree them with a little cream. Here’s my entry for this week – my favorite ways to use raw tomatoes:

Danielle August 18, 2009 at 9:49 am

Oh, Paige, I love tomato soup and this seems like such a great take on it.

My summerfest post…well, I cheated again (but with my mother’s hand-me-down recipe!):

Marilyn August 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

Paige, this looks perfect. I’m cooking for a friend home from the hospital today – someone needing soft comfort food in this too-hot summer. I know your “greatest” soup is it. Just may have to make an extra batch for us, too – to go with tomato bread. :)

Chef Gwen August 18, 2009 at 11:00 am

I make a lemon carrot soup, but now I want to make a carrot and tomato soup…with curry!

It would go great with my Summer Fest contribution:

Anita / Married ...with Dinner August 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

We made a great pasta last week: homegrown tomatoes and basil, mozzarella. The post and recipe are here:

darya August 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Tomato soup is one of my favorite things on earth. Will definitely be trying this recipe :)

The tip I’m sharing today is how to get tomatoes home from the farmers market without squishing them:

Charmian Christie August 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Great story.

This looks like a perfect soup for the autumn. And I’ve got all the ingredients on hand…

For Summer Fest, I made a simple salad. Tomato soup AND salad? Just might work…

Jaden August 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm

awwww cute cute!

Diana August 18, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I love cold soup in the summer, and always make my tomato soup with curry powder and carrots. Such a great combination! I’m a week behind you guys for tomato posting, next week I’m posting slow roasted tomatoes and some delicious recipes to use them in like pastas and salads. But I do have some older yummy ones, like parmesan crusted tomato slices.

yasmin August 18, 2009 at 11:11 pm

lovely soup and even lovelier pictures. sounds like you had a great afternoon.

though it’s not time to long for summer in the middle of a grey winter, i’m longing for tomatoes in the middle of summer… no such luck this year.

this year, with tomato season being less than perfect, i think this is the recipe i’d like to submit for summerfest. it coaxes the best out of even less than perfect tomatoes with a little trick–a quick vinegar soak.

Paige Orloff August 18, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Kelsey–I’ve never made roasted tomatoes at home, and you’ve motivated me to try (as soon as my plants produce another harvest, that is!)

Marion–We addled sisters have to stick together.

Deb–those are two of my faves, too, and I’ll have to try your versions. Thank you!

Kristina–Your tomato soup sounds like a great idea, and I love your raw recipes, too, especially that basil feta sandwich. Good God. And btw, I want a lesson in starting tomatoes from seed. Mine were promising and then lost steam. Maybe next year!

Keith–lemon bars are stars in the cookie sky, right up there with my favorite dark chocolate decadences.

Danielle–My husband was formerly tomato averse, until I started feeding him really good, farm fresh tomatoes; no winter grocery store tomatoes ever; why bother? Get your hands on some heirlooms, and see if they don’t inspire you. Meanwhile, I’m all for mama’s taco dip.

Marilyn–Once again, you blow me away. That bread looks simply illegal. It’s a tomato sticky bun, woman! I think you’re some kind of carbo-pushing sadist, Marilyn, really, I do. When can I come over?

Chef Gwen–Like Harriet the Spy (remember her?) I love a tomato sandwich, plain or fancy, and yes, perfect with a cup of cold soup.

Charmian–that salad looks so refreshing I wish I could jump into the bowl. Putting it on the menu as soon as I get more tomatoes from my slooooowww plants.

Diana–I would never have thought of breading a tomato, and yours look delicious: crispy and juicy both. Can’t wait to try ’em!ch

shauna August 19, 2009 at 12:02 am

Oh yes please! I can’t wait until my girl can help in the kitchen. In the meantime, I’ll look at that darling photo of your girl and dream. (and dream of eating this soup with you, too.)

Julie August 19, 2009 at 12:32 am

This will be perfect for the afternoon of cooking and freezing my sister and I do at the end of summer, before back to school (she’s a teacher and single mom of 3) – thank you!

For Summer Fest I made a roasted cherry tomato clafoutis – – but what I enjoyed even more was a roasted Roma tomato and goat cheese Tarte Tatin. Bliss!

rosy August 19, 2009 at 4:33 am

Ooo, that sounds so delicious… Very jealous of the heat though! The UK’s had rainy, dull weather for virtually the whole summer. But at last! The tomatoes are ripening Thank you for your wonderful posts!

paige August 19, 2009 at 8:17 am

Anita–There have been so many good suggestions for these uncooked sauces, which I love. Can’t wait to try yours.

Darya–As a former Californian, your site, with its listing of incredible produce at your farmers’ market made me a tiny bit nostalgic. (My farmers’ market is great, too, but I’ve yet to find the heirloom melon vendor of my dreams here!) Thanks for the comment, and the tips.

Jaden–Yes, she is cute, isn’t she? Don’t think she doesn’t know it!

Yasmin–I’ve never seen anything like your “pickled” tomato sauce recipe, and it looks lovely. The fried basil leaves are truly inspired.

Shauna–You will love cooking with Lu. Cooking with my kids is (usually!) one of our family’s great good times.

Julie–Oh, I love the idea of a sisterly afternoon of putting up summer bounty. What a great idea. I hope you blog it! And both of these recipes look totally divine. I may have to make one or the other for dinner tonight!

Rosy–Oh, don’t envy us; we’ve had monsoons all summer, totally out of character for our area. This is the first week of real heat, and it’s a love/hate thing for me. I know I should soak it up, because the cold will be here soon enough, but it does totally wilt me. That said, without it, I’ll have no tomatoes, so I have to be grateful. Isn’t it an amazing thing to have your own tomatoes from your own garden? Total bliss.

liz August 19, 2009 at 10:03 am

I love the addition of curry powder in this soup.

This is my first summerfest post, but better late than never. I’m enjoying reading everyone’s recipes, thanks!

John August 19, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Hi Paige, thanks to you and your collaborators on this sharing of summery posts. I was inspired to post our evening meals during tomato season (

joey August 20, 2009 at 1:49 am

What a wonderful coincidence! I just finished a series of tomato salads on my blog so I can join in on the summer festivities! Here are my 3 favorite tomato salads:

Glad to celebrate tomatoes with you all! :) The soup sounds delicious!

Kitchenelly August 21, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Thank you for the celebration of tomatoes! Here’s my twist on Caprese — roasted little sweet tomatoes that soften the cheese and pop with flavor. My post is at

Ashley August 24, 2009 at 11:50 am

This sounds fantastic! Carrots and tomatoes are such a great combination, and curry too? YUM!

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