On a couple of our trips we went white water rafting on the Nantahala River. In a guided, eight person raft, it was great fun. In a double ducky, however, it was downright scary! Let's just say the ducky trip didn't end quite as well as the guided one.
After we finally dried off, we needed to warm up so we stopped at a local restaurant along the river for lunch. We ordered the soup of the day to eat with our sandwiches. I don't have a clue what the sandwiches were, but the soup, a creamy tomato bisque, was so good we each ordered seconds!
When we got home from that trip I quickly got online on began searching for the closest approximation of that soup. After several iterations, and a few tweaks, this is what I came up with.
Italian Tomato Bisque
2 pounds Roma Tomatoes
1 medium onion -- sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh basil -- chopped fine
½ pint half-and-half
1 cup milk
Blanch the tomatoes until skin comes loose, then skin, seed, and chop coarsely. (When I don't have good, homegrown tomatoes, I cheat here and use a quart of tomato sauce that I canned the previous summer)
Sauté onion in butter a few minutes, then add all ingredients except the milk and cream. Simmer for about 25 minutes, and remove the cloves. Transfer to a blender or food processor, and puree. Add half-and-half, and the milk. Cook until warmed through.