Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, A Party In Your Mouth


We have a new food truck in Birmingham. It is a grilled cheese food truck. I about died from excitement. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to keep a consistent schedule or location, and they don’t inform people with their times promptly, so it has been a failed attempt at tracking them down when I have free time.

Today we had the city’s first Street Food Rally.  Birmingham is actually a very up-and-coming food scene. Well, we have Chef Chris Hastings and his restaurant Hot and Hot Fish Club. He won the James Beard award in 2012 and even won against Iron Chef Bobby Flay last year as well. We also have Frank Stitt, and his multiple restaurants, including Highlands Bar and Grill. He has received several honors, including being inducted into the James Beard Foundation.

Andrew Zimmern on Birmingham Food

Zagat Birmingham Up And Coming Cities For Food

But lately, we have seen the rise of several food trucks. Cupcakes, Vietnamese, Mexican, Seafood, just to name a few. And now we have Melt. Unfortunately, our city is trying to make it really hard for food trucks to do business. Brick and mortar restaurants (not all of them) are complaining that food trucks are taking away their business. This is, in my opinion, ridiculous. If I want to eat at a specific restaurant, I am going to go to that restaurant, no matter what food truck might be near by. Anyway, to make a long story short, today’s food truck rally was to gain support for our city’s food trucks.

The turnout was really good. Super long lines. But back to Melt. The line was just too damn long. So here I am, writing this blog, after enjoying a delicious semi-homemade grilled cheese sandwich and the most amazing tomato basil soup I have ever put in my mouth. I guess I will have to catch Melt later.

The sandwich was stuffed with red bell peppers, portobello, onions, and three different kinds of squash. Most of them I bought at the Whole Foods hot bar, because they were too tempting. I used smoked Gouda and pepperjack cheese. I also had a small dipping side of avocado vinaigrette.

Here is the recipe for the soup.


  • 1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 large can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1 pack of basil
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • goat cheese crumbles, for topping
  • bread crumbs, for topping

To Make:

Combine all ingredients whole tomatoes through red pepper flakes. Simmer for half an hour to 45 minutes. Blend in a blender. Put back in pot and let simmer for 5 minutes, stir in cream and butter and garam masala and let simmer another 5 minutes. Serve in a bowl and top with bread crumbs and goat cheese.

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