I’m OK With Being A Mug

Fiery Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

Starring Tomato Soup

I cook and my darling hubby photographs. Food is the medium through which I personally express myself best; I use it to recreate emotional spaces and shades of the day that I observe and want to share and literally ingest. That’s not to say that I don’t have an inclination to photograph too, it’s just not the medium that I work best in. It’s also not to say that my husband doesn’t have a proclivity to cook; he does, and is actually quite good at it. He enjoys using food as an outlet for expression, but it serves him more in the way of creating something that he’s physically craving. His forte is capturing visually what he’d like to share emotionally.

The two of us recently visited a cook shop looking for just the right little plates, bowls, mugs, ramekins, tablecloths and place settings we would use for photographing my culinary expressions. We perused the various styles that would be visually appealing, yet play a supportive role to the food they presented. The goal was to select pieces that would best hold the various types of cuisine that I would be whipping up, so a good amount of time was spent going up and down the isles of the shop. We’d find a particular piece that struck us somehow, then move on to compare it to others, then once again come back to it, turning it this way and that. Are the colors too bright? Would the eye go first to the platter or to the food? Was the shape too distracting? We knew that the food should be the star for our purposes and these pieces the vessels. These pieces the vessels.

Tomato Soup Goodies

That evening I contemplated how people remind me so much of these various, beautiful vessels. Each person holds their very own unique set of gifts and talents that they bring to the table to display their purpose for existence. Some are subtle and some more colorful, but all useful. When it comes to myself, I suppose that perhaps I’ve hoped I’m a kind of delicately ornate platter, baked glossy and painted with colors reminiscent of the seaside homes of enchanting Brittany, France: vanilla butter-cream, decorated with a whimsical splash of sea-blue flowers. I hold a bounty of seasonal fruits: ruby-red raspberries, blushing, wild strawberries, fresh aromatic peaches topped with a dollop of farm-fresh cream. Then again, maybe I fancy myself a sort of ceramic braising pot, passed on from generation to generation, that can proudly hold a meaty stew with lots of vegetables, fresh picked herbs and a healthy pouring of good wine. The nurturer in me desires to nourish and leave the partaker feeling full in belly and invigorated in spirit by the quality of the ingredients. I wondered: could I still accomplish this desire being something other than a delicately ornate platter, or a well-seasoned braising pot? What if I’ve been created to be a humble, white mug?

Fiery Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

I thought about this idea for a while, letting it swim around my head. I imagined a medium-sized, non-descript white mug, the type you’d expect to find in a local diner. I began picturing all of the various things you could fill that mug with: steaming, freshly brewed coffee that wakes up a tired soul at the very whisperings of dawn; creamy, velvety, deep-dark hot chocolate topped with real whipped cream, a few shakes of spicy cinnamon and chocolate shavings, that rewards the worker after shoveling a snow-blanketed driveway; rich, tangy and fiery roasted garlic-tomato soup with cheese toasts partly submerged, corners peaking out, soothing a weary soul wrapped in a favorite blanket next to a flickering fire after a long days work; or chilled, smooth, homemade vanilla-bean custard, topped with a crispy lemon cookie that brightens the smile as the cap on a good meal with friends. The thought of the infinite possibilities of what a humble, white mug could hold was so inspiring! I had the realization that it wasn’t the vessel itself that was important; it was what it could hold within it, and what it would do with it.

I’ve become quite comfortable with the prospect of possibly being a “simple” mug instead of a platter or a pot, and sitting in eager anticipation of realizing what has been placed within me to hold and display. May I learn what I have been created to be and how to best serve that.

Taste what’s good, and pass it on.


Fiery Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

Fiery Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup with Cheese Toasts
Print this recipe

Ingredients: (serves about 6)

15 whole Roma Tomatoes
7 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided use
1-½ tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Red Chili Pepper Flakes
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
3 whole Heads Of Garlic (peels Left On), plus 2 cloves, chopped, divided use
1 whole Onion, chopped
1 bunch Lemon Basil (or Regular Basil), stems removed and chopped
¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
3 ½ cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Croutons (packaged)
½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 loaf rustic-style Bread, such as Ciabatta
6 Tablespoons Gruyere Cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with foil.
-Cut the Roma tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl; add the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil as well as the balsamic vinegar and other ingredients down through the Italian seasoning to the tomatoes, and toss to coat; add to baking sheet to roast for 45 minutes.
-Cut the tops off of the 3 heads of garlic and add 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil; wrap the oiled heads tightly in foil, and place them next to the tomatoes to roast for 40 minutes.
-Once tomatoes and garlic are roasted, set aside to cool slightly until they can be handled; then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their papers, discard papers and set aside the roasted garlic. (Keep oven set to 400 degrees, as it will be needed to make the cheese toasts later.)
-In the meantime, in a large pot over medium heat, add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, the chopped onion and 2 fresh, chopped garlic cloves. Allow them to become aromatic and translucent. Then add the roasted tomatoes (and all of their juice from the baking sheet), and the roasted garlic; add the basil and parsley and stir to combine; add the hot chicken stock and the croutons and allow to gently simmer without lid, for about 20 minutes.
-Finally, add the grated Parmesan cheese, and using a hand immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and all tomatoes are completely pureed (if using a blender, work in small batches to puree- be careful to not overfill the blender, as hot soup can splatter); check the salt/pepper, and adjust, if necessary; keep soup warm.
-To make the cheese toasts, cut the rustic bread into six 1/2″ slices, drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, and place on baking sheet and into oven to toast until golden; remove bread from oven and top each with 1 Tablespoon of the Gruyere cheese and place in oven once again, just until cheese is melted; remove bread from oven and cut each slice on the bias (making 12 pieces); keep warm.
-Ladle soup into serving bowls, and garnish with 2 pieces of the Gruyere cheese toasts.

{ 45 comments… add one }

  • Janet R February 17, 2012, 5:37 am

    Can we be friends? I like the way you think!
    I think I’ll be a simple (but elegant) mug along with you! And the soup looks delicious too! :)

  • Jennie February 17, 2012, 8:03 am

    Ingrid, this looks absolutely delicious. Tomato soup is my all-time favorite soup. I will have to try your recipe. Your photos are beautiful.

  • Natalie February 17, 2012, 10:04 am

    This looks so delicious and I love the presentation of it in a teacup. All I need now is a good movie, a grilled cheese sandwich, and some cold weather to drink this up.
    Thank you for posting this I love it. Have a great weekend!

  • Beedy February 17, 2012, 11:55 am

    Mouth-watering is all I need to say. Your husband takes fabulous pictures and I love your way with words. Have a blessed weekend.


    • The Cozy Apron February 17, 2012, 4:02 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Beddy! I hope that you, too, have a blessed weekend.

  • Julie February 18, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Looks awesome, will definitely be making this soon. Thanks & keep up the great recipes!

  • Julia {The Roasted Root} February 18, 2012, 8:37 pm

    Hi there! I’m new to your blog and I love what I see so far! Your recipes look healthful and I like that you don’t make the typical baked good every day 😉 I love making roasted tomato soup and your presentation is beautiful. Love the video! :) Hope you guys are enjoying the weekend!

  • Shrazzi @ Getting Fresh in the Kitchen February 19, 2012, 7:08 pm

    That was profound Ingrid. Love your analogy!

  • Megan @ ScholasticFood February 19, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Yum! This looks fantastic and like a much more refined version of tomato-basil soup! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Villy February 20, 2012, 8:12 am

    Everything is working great! The soup, the photos, the whole blog is fantastic! Nice job!

  • Courtney @ cucinareconcourtney February 20, 2012, 9:36 am

    I loved this post! This is the first one I have read by you and I’m going to subscribe. I will definitely be making this for the husband and I, and definitely in mugs!

  • Tisa February 21, 2012, 2:14 pm

    This soup will be my dinner tonight. Yum and thank you.

  • Julia {The Roasted Root} February 22, 2012, 9:29 am

    Hey girly! I would like to reiterate that I love your food site and appreciate the unique spin on adding short videos! I am passing the Versatile Blogger Award to you (see my site for details)! Congrats and I can’t wait to see more videos and recipes from you guys!

  • Megan @ Country Cleaver February 22, 2012, 11:07 am

    I want to be that garlic toast. It looks like it’s sitting in a little tomato soup hot tub. That sounds like the life!!

  • Dahlia February 24, 2012, 7:50 pm

    Lovely in every way possible! Your words are beautiful, as are the photos and of course the recipe. You’ve got something really special going here. Thanks for inviting me to share it with you.

  • kat February 25, 2012, 5:41 pm

    Love the recipes – thanks! And the videos to go along are great (the music makes me think you’re in France or Italy cooking) :)

  • Margaret in NJ March 5, 2012, 9:37 am

    Do you think this recipe will freeze well? I can see making a batch of this in the summer with the farm fresh tomatoes and basil and thawing it out on a cold winter’s evening….

    • The Cozy Apron March 5, 2012, 3:37 pm

      Hi Margaret, thanks for the great question. You know, I personally haven’t tried freezing this soup yet, but I can’t see any reason that it wouldn’t be just fine; perhaps try freezing it in heavy-duty zip-lock bags with as much air pressed out as possible, and I think the vibrant flavors of summer should keep beautifully for a cold winter’s dinner!

  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok March 5, 2012, 10:39 pm

    It’s only 7.30 am and this soup makes me want it now. Great recipe.

  • Christy March 12, 2012, 8:27 pm

    I purchased the ingredients. Can’t wait to make this on Wednesday. Love the camera work!

    • The Cozy Apron March 13, 2012, 7:52 am

      Hi Christy, that’s great! Thank you! Please let me know how it turns out for you!

  • Christy March 17, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Your recipe and artistry are divine. My husband and I made this together tonight and agreed that it was the best soup we have ever made/tasted. Definitely the best recipe overall that I’ve made. We enjoyed it immensely. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • The Cozy Apron March 19, 2012, 3:09 pm

      Christy, thank YOU for sharing. Comments like yours are the reason my husband and I decided to venture jointly into the blogging arena. I can’t tell you how much your lovely sentiments mean, and the best part is that both you AND your hubby prepared this together- that truly touched me so much, my friend!

  • melissa May 9, 2012, 11:37 am

    how many calories are in this per cup?

    • thecozyapron May 9, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Hi Melissa, I really couldn’t tell you what the calorie count is, but the good news is that there’s no cream- it’s a stock-based soup thickened by lots of tasty veggies and other healthy bits with just a touch of Parmesan.

  • Megan May 10, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Wow! I just made this soup, and I must say, it is the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. Ah-mazing! Thanks for the recipe! I look forward to looking through (and cooking) more of your stuff!

    • thecozyapron May 10, 2012, 9:57 pm

      Megan, I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed your experience making this soup- it’s what makes sharing my recipes with others such a joy for me!

  • Lotta May 15, 2012, 5:35 pm

    Another excellent recipe! Roasting the tomatoes and garlic made the whole house smell absolutely amazing!

    Initially I doubted the amount of salt, but it turned out to be perfect, not to salty at all. I toned down the fire a little by using only a half tbsp pepper flakes and adding some cream, maybe 1/3 cup.

    My 12-year-old kept repeating “Mmm… perfect!” as we were eating. :)

    • thecozyapron May 16, 2012, 3:59 pm

      Lotta, that’s so great, and again, I appreciate you taking time to comment. Wise that you used only 1/2 tbsp pepper flakes when cooking for your family and children as this is indeed a spicy soup. Isn’t it great when kids compliment their mommas on their cooking?

  • Grant July 19, 2012, 9:42 am

    Just wanted to say that I tried this recipe last night, and it was fantastic. Like Lotta above, I cut back the pepper flakes (roughly in half) because my wife isn’t such a fan of spicy food, and it was still too much for her. If you don’t want it really spicy (and I say this as a fan of spicy food), I’d go back to about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes

    Also, I may have cut back on the basil a bit too – the “bunch” I get at my farmer’s market is quite a bit more than what comes in the package at the grocery store, so I had to estimate, but it looks to be about half of what you used based on your photo. Regardless, the soup came out great, and I say this as someone who normally isn’t too fond of tomato soup.

    • thecozyapron July 19, 2012, 3:53 pm

      Grant, sounds like you did a wonderful job adapting things slightly to suit your taste specifically, and I think that’s the ideal way to follow a recipe. Job well done — so glad it turned out well for you, and that perhaps now, you’ll be more of a fan of tomato soup!

  • Bonnie August 12, 2012, 8:20 am

    I’m making this soup tonight for a potluck at church, and I was confused by one of the directions. How long are the tomatoes in the oven? Do you add the garlic when the tomatoes have been in for 5 minutes and then cook 40? Or do you cook the tomatoes for 45 minutes, add the garlic, and cook another 40?

    • The Cozy Apron August 12, 2012, 10:45 am

      Hi Bonnie, yes — you would add in the garlic once the tomatoes have been in for 5 minutes. They pretty much cook together, minus those 5 minutes it roughly takes to prep/foil the garlic heads. Good luck!!

  • laurie November 19, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight! It was so, so yummy! And you aren’t kidding when you say “fiery”! We loved it, but those of you who want less heat should cut back on the red pepper flakes. I will definitely make this again, and with full strength pepper flakes!

    • The Cozy Apron November 19, 2012, 5:20 pm

      Hi Laurie, thanks so much for coming back to share your thoughts on the recipe – glad you enjoyed it, “fiery” and all!

  • Jack Looney December 6, 2012, 3:56 pm

    Awesome recipe. Followed it to a ‘T’ and didn’t need to adjust the salt n pepper….. I’ll be making this again. Good one!

    • The Cozy Apron December 6, 2012, 5:14 pm

      Hi Jack, thanks so much – so glad you had a tasty experience with this soup, and that you came back to share it with me!

  • Britt A December 17, 2012, 4:16 pm

    I feel compelled to leave a comment… I make A TON of soups, they’re kind of my thing. 😉 I made this soup last week, and my husband said it is his most favorite soup BAR NONE! He thought I made up the recipe and literally exclaimed, “We could open a restaurant on this s**t!”

    I also served it the following day to my mother-in-law (with a very sophisticated pallet), and she said it’s the best tomato soup she has ever had!

    Thank you, thank you! I did have to cut down on the red pepper flakes though. :\ I couldn’t handle the heat, haha.

  • The Cozy Apron December 17, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Hi Britt! Wow – what an awesome comment. Can’t tell you how happy I am that you all enjoyed this soup, especially your mother-in-law, since that always scores points, doesn’t it? Thank you so very much for taking the time to come back and share your experience with me. (By the way, if you and your hubs like really tasty soups, you gotta try my Oktoberfest Lager Stew recipe – you’ll find it under my soup section.) Here’s to more soup-making!

  • April March 22, 2014, 6:27 pm

    I am wondering if this soup recipe could be canned?

    • The Cozy Apron March 23, 2014, 8:05 am

      Hi April! I’m no expert when it comes to canning, so I would’t know for certain, but I don’t see why not. It would be like any other soup.

  • Joeyman August 11, 2015, 1:35 pm

    Fortunately I live less than a mile from a wonderful farm in Central New Jersey. Made this incredible recipe with the local ingredients. Did without the suggested toasts, added some cooked orzo. This soup rocks, wonderful layers of flavors, this soup ROCKS!!!! Thank you for sharing this delicious creation.

    • The Cozy Apron August 11, 2015, 1:47 pm

      Hi there, so glad you enjoyed this recipe! And to use farm-fresh, local ingredients would make it that much more amazing. Thank you so much for taking a moment to share your experience with me—I really appreciate it!

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