Right in the middle of my spa career, I took a break to pursue another love – food. I was the store director with a high end European deli here in Portland, one of my favorite jobs to date. I started at one location in the heart of downtown (I love working downtown!), and while running that store I planned the build and opening of a new location in Lake Oswego.
While I thrive on the fun that goes into the execution of a new business and the grand opening events, my favorite aspect of this job was the food. At the new location, we built a bakery where we made fresh pastries, breads and bagels each morning. I took a series of classes in Baking and Pastry in preparation, and while I could not have early morning hours all the time, I loved arriving at 4am to make muffins, bagels, bake off croissants proofing over night… it was bliss.
Having been a customer for many years, I was thrilled to be a part of the executive staff (although looking back now, I would have been just as happy running the bakery). This deli boasts an excellent reputation for having great food. Their menu has both permanent items and seasonal choices on rotation.
Their soups are legendary.
As soon as cold weather chill hits Portland, lines snake out their doors at lunch time – everyone wanting a warm up of the famous soup. One of their classic soups on the permanent menu is Tomato Orange. As far as I know, the recipe has never been published. Even working there with access to recipes, I never saw the Tomato Orange.
My memory serves as inspiration, and this is my version of that deli classic.
It is my favorite.
tomato orange soup
dairy, soy, gluten free, vegan
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter, divided (Earth Balance)
10 roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon flour (gluten free ap)
1 cup almond milk
sea salt, to taste
Sauté onion and garlic in one tablespoon butter. Transfer to high speed blender with tomatoes, orange juice concentrate and vegetable broth – puree until smooth.
In large saucepan, melt remaining 2 tablespoons earth balance. Add flour, stir until golden brown and blended. Add almond milk, stir until creamy. Add to tomato mixture in blender, continue to blend, add salt as needed. Transfer back to saucepan to heat through (or heat in high powered blender).
Garnish with sliced or cubed tomato, dried basil and oregano. Serve over rice or quinoa, with grilled cheese, crackers or stuffed waffles.
Those cheesy tomato stuffed waffles can be found here.