AUTUMN TOMATO SOUP (6 cups)
one 28 ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, or 2-1/2 cups (4 medium-size) peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon fragrant spice powder (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons prune butter (available at supermarkets in the preserves section next to peanut butter, or you can make it by combining 1 cup pitted prunes with 1/3 cup boiling water and processing it in a food processor until smoothly pureed)
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup spicy croutons to garnish (recipe follows)
1.Place all of the ingredients except heavy cream and croutons in the container of a blender or food processor and process until liquefied or smoothly pureed. Pour tomato mixture into a 2-1/2 quart microwavable dish and cover with the lid.
2. Cook at 100% power in a 650 to 700 watt carousel oven for 12 minutes (or until soup is boiling). Uncover, add cream and replace cover. Continue cooking at 100% power for 1 minute (or until soup is heated through). Remove from oven. Uncover and ladle piping hot soup into bowls. Distribute spicy croutons on top and serve.
NOTE: The soup may be set aside before adding cream and stored in a microwave safe container for 4 hours at room temperature or up to 3 days in the refrigerator or frozen. Reheat in the same container, partially covered, add cream and serve.
FRAGRANT SPICE POWDER (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon ajowan seeds, or 1 teaspoon thyme
1. Combine all the spices (if you are using thyme, do not add it here) and roast them, stirring, in a dry cast iron skillet over medium high heat for about 3 minutes, or until a smoky aroma rises and the seeds begin to pop (the spices will get several shades darker). Transfer to a small bowl.
2. When completely cool, add thyme (if you are using it) and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.
SPICY CROUTONS (1 cup)
4 slices white bread, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground fennel
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1.Spread bread cubes on a microwave safe pie dish or dinner plate. Dribble oil over the bread and stir to coat. Cook, uncovered, at 100% power in a 650 to 700 watt carousel oven for 3 minutes 30 seconds (or until cubes look light brown), stirring once.
2. Remove from oven, combine all the spices and salt, sprinkle over the cubes and stir thoroughly. Cook, uncovered, at 100 % power for an additional 1 minute (or until the spices lose their raw aroma). Remove from the oven. Use immediately or cool and transfer to airtight containers.
from Julie Sahni, Moghul Microwave