Tomato and basil soup | A summer recipe

2 tbsp cup olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
800 kg of very ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/3 cup water
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat 1tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
Add the chopped onions, 2/3 of the minced garlic, the chopped celery and chopped carrot and saute until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes and continue to cook, covered, until the tomatoes give up their liquid and begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes.
Add the water and continue to cook, covered, until the tomatoes have completely broken up, about 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
While the soup is cooking, combine the basil leaves, remaining 2 cloves of garlic, and remaining olive oil in a blender and process until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and set aside, refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use.

When ready to serve the soup, ladle your tomato and basil soup into bowls and garnish with drizzles of the basil-garlic puree.

Recipe ingredient TCM qualities

Onion: supplements the stomach and regulates and loosens qi. moves blood, encourages appetite and produces perspiration. Will lose it’s effect if cooked too long;
Garlic: warms the middle, move qi and blood in the abdomen, detoxifies, anti-parasitic, relieves cough. Best raw, gently braised or as a juice;
Celery: is cool and brings heat down in the body especially for the liver. It also tonifies the spleen, dries damp and controls the appetite.
Carrot: warms and strengthens the digestive organs. Useful for loss of appetite, constipation and diarrhoea and nausea;
Tomatoes: clears heat and enriches yin especially liver yin. Moistens the body, cools and cleans the blood, strengthens the stomach and promotes liver activity. Best raw, boiled or sautéed.
Basil: Removes blood stagnation, expels cold, dries damp and counteracts toxins. It is a great allrounder as long as you have healthy qi.
Salt: clears heat, cools blood, moistens dryness, sends qi downwards, strengthens the kidneys and loosens phlegm.
Pepper (black or white): in small doses such as a seasoning it promotes secretion of digestive juices, increases appetite and alleviates bloating.

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