Tomato Basil Soup

I believe basil is a vegetable, and in this recipe, I use it accordingly.  Feel free to tone it down if you're not so mad about basil, but it won't be quite the same.  I came up with this recipe soon after I decided that I really do like tomatoes, and wanted a simple soup that would highlight the ripest, best tasting tomatoes possible (such as the dry farmed tomatoes from Molino Creek sold at the Heart of the City Farmer's Market in SF).

2 T oil
1/4 t celery seed
5 # very ripe, wonderful, prime tomatoes

Saute tomatoes with the celery seed in the olive oil until they are soft, stirring occasionally.  Put through food mill and set aside (can be done ahead and refrigerated).

2 T oil
1 medium onion, minced finely
3 stalks celery (leafy is better), finely chopped
1/2 pint vegetable stock* or water
Saute the onions and celery in the oil; when they are translucent and soft, add the stock and tomatoes.  

1 bunch or more basil, stemmed and chopped coarsely (I like about 2C chopped basil)

When all is just simmering again, toss in the basil and heat a couple more minutes until the basil wilts.

black pepper
pine nuts (optional)

Add salt and pepper to taste.  If you like them, sprinkle a generous tablespoonful of pine nuts over each serving, or stir a handful into the pot.

This soup keeps remarkably well in the refrigerator or freezer.

*I use 'Summer Vegetable Stock' from the first Greens Cookbook (by Deborah Madison and Edward Espe Brown).  It is remarkably fine stuff for so many vegetarian recipes.

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