There is a 'new' comfy chair and ottoman in the corner. Next to the wood stove. Deep and cushiony. I can scoot back in and dangle my feet, transforming into a doll-sized version of myself, or sit sideways - toes on the arm, warming by the stove. But best of all is the ottoman because when put to use, it turns the big, comfy chair into the big, comfy lounge. And it's impossible not to tuck in with a little stack of beautiful books for a bit of armchair traveling (and tasting).
Lots of inspiring stuff in those books; plenty to keep busy with, but in the meantime a simple bowl of tomato soup is suiting me just fine...
(adapted for the winter pantry from the recipe for 'Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup' in the Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics)
Saute together 1 diced yellow onion and 1 peeled and diced carrot in 2 Tb. olive oil in a soup pot for about 10 minutes, or until very soft. Add to this 3 cloves of garlic (minced) and 3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (chopped finely) and cook another minute. Add 1 (28 ounce) can of whole, peeled tomatoes (broken with your fingers) and their juices, 2 tsp. sea salt, a few grinds of black pepper, 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (or water), and a small handful of chopped fennel fronds (or herb of your choice). Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour. Remove the pot from the stove and run it through, a bit at a time, a food mill fitted with the medium sized disk set atop a large bowl or second soup pot. Discard the solids left in the mill and return the soup to its pot. Add 1/4 cup of whole milk (or cream, or nothing at all) and gently reheat and adjust seasonings, if necessary.