When I first moved to New York City 5 years ago, I was amazed to see that no one had kitchen tables. People here eat at their computer desks, on the couch in front of the TV, or in restaurants, but never around the dining room table. Roommates and even couples and families eat different things at different times, scattered all over the apartment.
When I was growing up, things were much different. I enjoyed (usually) dinner at the dining room table, with family almost every night. It was the one time everyone living under the same roof could come together and connect with each other. When I got to the Big Apple, I was determined not to lose this, so I created what is now lovingly known as “Family Dinner Night” – or FDN. It started out as my sister and me inviting our friends over for a home cooked meal every Tuesday night. We had a rotating cast of old friends, new acquaintances and family members around the table, enjoying simple food, wine and good conversation.
Unfortunately, we all got busy and FDN now happens much less frequently. Last Saturday night was the first Family Dinner of the year 2012. My sister, boyfriend and a few good friends (toting along some new friends) were in attendance. They hauled in the wine and bread, and I provided the soup. I love that this soup is so simple to prepare, but the spice mix really brings it to the next level. When I’m hosting a party, the last thing I want is to be stuck in the kitchen all night while all my friends are giggling in the next room. Also, this recipe makes a huge pot of soup for a party, so feel free to halve it to feed a smaller family.
How often do all of you eat dinner at the dining room table?
Indian Spiced Tomato Soup
1 c. short grain brown rice
2 T. butter or olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. sea salt
3 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz. can of coconut milk
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. tightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped
Place the rice in a medium sized heavy bottomed pot (set aside your biggest pot for the soup). Pour in 2 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat as low as it will go and simmer, covered for 45 minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in the big pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cool until translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add the spices, stir to coat the onions, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and 6 cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn to medium low and simmer, covered, until everything is cooked down. I just cooked it until the rice was almost done. Puree with a hand blender, then stir in the coconut milk.
While the rice is cooking, place the almonds in a dry skillet and heat on medium until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally.
Serve soup with a scoop of rice, some toasted almonds and a sprinkling of cilantro.