Tomato Basil Soup

I’ve really missed blogging.


I’ve missed having a place to whine and reflect. I’ve missed the creative outlet. I’ve missed playing around with my camera and trying to master taking photographs of ice cream before it melts.

Most of all I have missed my fellow bloggers. I am truly amazed and humbled by how kind and supportive so many of you have been through this crazy upheaval in my life. Humbled and incredibly grateful!

So thank you, for your emails, your tweets, your messages on Facebook, your comments, and for being here with me as I grow a little, fail a little, and learn loads along the way.


And speaking of learning experiences, have you ever tried to photograph a bowl of soup? Seriously, how hard can it be? It’s not like it moves or anything.

I took 193 pictures of this bowl of soup. I kid you not.

It’s a darn good thing that it’s really good soup because I was seriously considering hurling the bowl off my balcony…

Tomato Basil Soup

What did I learn?

First of all, set up your shot, bowl and all and then ladle the soup into the bowl. Otherwise when you carry it, it will leave unsightly little rings around your bowl. SO NOT COOL!

Second, wait for it to cool down before trying to photograph it. The steamy lens look is also not cool…

Tomato Basil Soup

Yields: 6-8 Servings


2 lbs. good and flavorful tomatoes, cut into chunks and seeded

1/4 c. olive oil, divided

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 large onion, diced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

28 oz. can San Marzano Tomatoes

2 c. chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 c. loosely packed basil leaves

1/2 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. fresh oregano

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place heirloom tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Toss to coat. Bake in preheated oven 35-45 minutes until nice and tender.

Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, saute onion and red pepper flakes in remaining 2 tbs. olive oil. When soft and translucent, add garlic and cook 2-3 more minutes.

Add San Marzano tomatoes, juice and all to the sauteed onion and garlic. Add chicken stock, basil, thyme, and oregano. Top off with the roasted tomatoes, including the juices that dripped from the pan.

Simmer over low heat 30-35 minutes to allow the flavors to really blend well together. Either pass the soup through a food mill or use an immersion blender to achieve the desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


If you’re a food blogger, what food (or foods) do you struggle with photographing the most?

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  1. 1

    Dear Jen, I am so with you about the learning curve in food photography. The cooking is the easy part. Trying to convey how delicious the food is through the photos.. so very hard. Your bowl of soup looks amazing. It truly does! I have spent hours reading, buying books, photo software, a new camera, lens… etc… on getting better photos…. they still are hit and miss for me. It drives me crazy sometimes. I had to laugh about the bowl of soup and filling it after you set up your table setting… I have hard to learn the hard way on that one too. I can’t stand to see splatter or rings around dishes when I take my photos. I also take about 100+ photos of my dishes to get the right angle, focus etc… Thank goodness for digital cameras… I could never do this back in the day with film. Food photography is like finding some kind of golden goose sometimes. I don’t think I will ever be able to master it… but I love it still. :)

    PS… glad to have you back to doing recipes. I love a good bowl of tomato soup… comfort for the belly and soul. :)

    • 2

      I seem to struggle the most with lighting. Even if I manage to get the rest of the shot the way I like it, I still find half the bowl of soup looks orange and the other half red because of the shadows. Sometimes it makes me crazy, but I love the moment when it comes out right! That’s enough to keep me trying.

  2. 3

    I struggle with soups as well. I was trying to take pictures of one last night, and I have yet to load them onto my computer, because I am kind of scared to see how they turned out.

    I think your soup looks great! I have never made tomato soup before, but I just found out my son likes it, so I will have to try it soon.

  3. 5

    I always struggle with hot food, soups seem to be the worst.

    Your soup looks super delicious and on a cold windy day like today (at least here in North Carolina) it would be the perfect meal.

    So excited that when I click on “Three Little Piglets” that there are new posts :)

    • 6

      I find the easiest thing to do with anything hot is simply to let it cool down first so it doesn’t fog up my lens. I’ve eaten and awful lot of cold food in the last year!

  4. 7

    The soup looks terrific! I know what you mean, tho. How do you make soup look…er…sexy? It’s a near-impossible task, but you did it! I’m glad you missed blogging – because I missed your blog!

    Hugs and welcome back!

  5. 9

    It looks perfect. Interesting to mix fresh and canned tomatoes. I can imagine how rich it must be. Glad that you’re posting again, Jen.

  6. 11

    My daughter loves tomato soup and yours looks so wonderful and vibrant. It was actually tomato soup that gave me the most hassles photographing. There was a weird purple reflection in all my photos…yikes. You’d never know you had a bit of trouble with your soup..the photos are perfect!

  7. 13

    Yep, this one made me laugh :) The thought of you hurtling a bowl of tomato soup over your balcony is pretty hilarious and I can completely relate. The soup looks really good. LOVE tomato soup!

  8. 14

    Soup is very hard to photograph because it’s sometimes hard to show what is actually in it, but this soup looks great! Tomato soup is my fave!

  9. 15

    Oh this soup looks fantastic and I can relate with you on the whole 193 photos. I do the same thing with about all the food photos I take. One day I’ll only have 10 photos to sift through! Btw… your photos are stunning. Don’t be too hard on yourself and of course this soup sounds awesome!

  10. 17

    I think casseroles are my photo nemesis (nemesises?). Anything that started out as a whole lot of stuff and is then spooned onto a plate in a heap is NOT pretty no matter how many sprigs of parsley you put next to it.

    I dig your advice about setting up and then ladling in the soup. My photo area is about three rooms away from my kitchen, so it makes a lot of sense!

  11. 19

    Hi, I found you and your blog via Twitter. Have to pipe in to say that love the recipes and the pix. Food photography is hard – much harder than one anticipates in the beginning. Like most, lighting is the bane of my existence when it comes to photographing food. I’ve toyed with the idea of building a light box but I’m too lazy to follow through!

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