Tomato artichoke soup

Looking back on Ramadan I can’t help but think of all the people who enjoy the month of fasting with me. Of course the first that come to mind are family and friends. However, there is an often overlooked group –  friends who are not Muslim. It all started when I received an email about being grateful to all those who accommodate and encourage those fasting throughout the month of Ramadan. When I begin to think about it, I realize that I’ve spent most of my collective Ramadan’s around people who aren’t Muslim, whether at school or in lecture halls or at work. I have always, always had someone who isn’t fasting participating somehow in my Ramadan experience. Whether it is a friend fasting a day with me for support, encouragement or just curiosity or a supervisor allowing me to leave early or come in late. There are in fact so many people that come to mind. Most recently, my co-worker had conscientiously been eating lunch between 1-2 in the afternoon when I would leave the office for my lunch-less break. I also just found out that she had stopped drinking coffee at work because she knows I swoon at the smell of it. Of course, I reassured her that I was fine and she really didn’t have to stop, but still, it was beyond generous of her to even consider of it. When I was working in Indiana a few of my co-workers and I would plan right before Ramadan an annual “Feast Before the Fast,” our last lunch together for an entire month.  We’d head to one of our favorite downtown Indianapolis restaurants, Cafe Patachou. As always, we would all order a half soup/half sandwich combo each of us pairing our choice of sandwich with a steamy bowl of tomato artichoke soup. Later we also tagged on a “Feast After the Fast” just so we’d have more to celebrate. Thinking back on years past, my Ramadan experience would be very incomplete without each and every one of them. Now that Eid has passed and I am back at work, I’m missing my Indiana friends, our lovely lunches, always enjoyable conversations and of course our “Feast After the Fast.”

Tomato Artichoke Soup:

Servings: 6 bowls

28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

15 oz can artichokes

1 cup water

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

Chop 1 large onion in half and mince 1 clove garlic. In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Cook the onions and garlic until they begin to soften.

Chop the artichokes into smaller pieces. In the soup pot, add the artichokes, tomatoes, 1 cup of water, ½ teaspoon oregano, and 1 teaspoon basil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the onion halves.

Using an immersion blender (or blender if necessary), blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Add 1 cup milk. Top with croutons and a little parmesan. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes: The original recipe asks for the onions to be chopped, cooked and blended with everything. I personally don’t care for onion all that much in my soups, unless it is an onion soup. I decided to cook the onion, but not blend it – just so I’d get some onion flavor without overdoing it – feel free to blend the onion in. Also, I’m not sure the cup of milk is necessary. If you want to make it creamy, add cream – milk didn’t make it any richer and when sampling it tasted just fine without milk. Don’t skip out on the croutons and parm, it just makes the whole thing better. Final thoughts, I used the canned stuff – but I know that roasting your own tomatoes for this soup (though time consuming) would totally be worth it.

I have to say, this was pretty close to the stuff at Patachou – but I still miss my friends.