Last year was a bad year for tomatoes here in Northern California. Cold temps and lots of wind kept them from doing well, so I was thrilled when early this spring we got a a ton of rain. Followed by the sunniest summer I’ve seen here in a while. What does that mean to your normal not-weather-obsessed person?


Heirloom tomatoes. For $1.25 a pound.



We picked up our first haul today from the Alemany Farmer’s Market and tonight I’m making minestrone. With heirloom tomatoes. My kitchen smells so amazing right now, I decided to pass some kitchen waiting time by posting the recipe. It tastes fine with normal tomatoes, but then you can’t call it Heirloominestrone, and where’s the fun in that?


6 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, sliced as thin as you can
6 scallions, chopped fine
2 zucchini or cousa, chopped
cooking sherry
5 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped (I prefer Yellowgold, light green, orange and yellow/red-colored because they give the soup a warm orangey color instead of red)
8 cups water boiled, then 1/2 cup vegan chicken broth whisked in
1 8oz can tomato paste
2 cups cooked cranberry (berlotti) beans (ironically I have the heirloom variety of these too)
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
Pepper ground to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel soup pot. Saute on medium heat the red onions until just softened, then add 1/3 cup cooking sherry. Add garlic slices and reduce down until just starting to brown.
2. Add scallions and zucchini, saute until the zucchini are soft.
3. Add tomatoes, stir and add 1/3 cup sherry. Stir well, cook on medium heat until the tomatoes soften.
4. Whisk the tomato paste into the vegan broth. Add to the soup pot, along with the herbs. Cook for 15 minutes, add beans. Cook another 15 minutes.

I served this with toasted olive bread and earth balance. A perfect summer dinner. I’ll post the photo later.

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