Vegetarian comfort food

The husband is sick. Sick as in, congested chest and raw throat and runny nose with a good bout of coughing thrown in periodically to really make him miserable.

And I, I, Almost Vegetarian, will ride to the rescue to make him as warm and comfortable as can be.

I'll do it with food.

Almost Vegetarian comfort food
Now, the husband-man is Italian, so his idea of comfort food is pasta. Bah! I am half English and all Jewish so, to me, comfort food is liquid. Namely, chicken soup and tea. (Meaning, of course, that, to me, the road to health is, and do forgive me, paved with pee).

So last night, I made the man soup. But, erm, not chicken.
Vegetarian recipe: Tomato and bread soup
This is from Barbara Kafka's Soup: A Way of Life

First, you have to make the garlic broth for the soup.
3 small heads garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt, to taste, optional
freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional
9 cups water

Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise and, if necessary, remove the green germ growing through the center.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Stir in the garlic cloves and cook, stirring often, until the outside of the garlic is translucent and cloves are soft, about 20 minutes. Don't let the garlic brown.

Pour in 9 cups (2.25 liters) water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes. The garlic will be very tender. To eat the broth on its own, season with salt and pepper to taste; or use as a stock.

Next, you get to make the soup.
four 3/4-inch- (2-cm-) thick slices peasant bread
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic,smashed, peeled, and sliced
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
14 large basil leaves, washed well and cut across into narrow strips
1 3/4 pounds (790 g) plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch (.5-cm) dice
4 cups (1 liter) Garlic Broth
2 teaspoons coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
good olive oil, for serving

Heat the oven to 225°F. Place the bread directly on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, just to dry the bread out; do not brown. Break the bread into large pieces.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 13 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the stock, bread, salt, and pepper. Return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring and breaking up the bread with the back of a spoon, for 15 minutes. The bread should break down to a mush. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with a few grinds of fresh pepper, and drizzled with some good olive oil.

And the verdict is . . .

Not bad. Not worth all that work, but not bad. But still not as good as Campbell's Classic Tomato Soup (which we don't eat any more because of all that lovely high fructose corn syrup), alas.

So I have to come up with something new for tonight. Like, oh, what the hell, pasta.

Poor little bunny
As for dealing with a sick man, well, the funny women at my husband's office (who clearly have him pegged perfectly) sent me this video. As I told them, I have never seen anything so accurate.