Frances’ Summer Tomato Soup

Just when you think you have plenty of amazing and interesting friends in your life, someone comes along and knocks your socks off.  My new friend Frances would have thrown out some hilarious Southern phrase instead of saying “knocks your socks off” but I can’t remember a single one she uses, even though she has had me laughing out loud on many an occasion with her wit and charm.  One of her phrases had something to do with crocodiles or alligators in a swamp but my memory isn’t nearly as sharp as hers.

Someone as multi-talented and accomplished in the arts as Frances should not also be a sharpshooter in the kitchen.  But she is.  And her recipes incorporate all things inherent in those Southern girls we love to hate…beauty with ease, elegance and taste.  Yes, she has them all, and so do her recipes, which incidentally are written up with style in her BOOK  Atlanta at Table.  I recently found out she has another book coming out next year and as much as I would like to hate her many accomplishments, I will have to settle for just being in awe of my amazing friend.  And maybe a tiny bit jealous.  Or maybe a lot jealous.  But let’s just call it admiration.

A few months ago, I was admiring Frances on her blog and told her I wanted more recipes like the one for her famous brownies.  Shortly after, I received a copy of  Atlanta at Table which is chock-full of her recipes! She included an endearing note that made me admire her even more.  And once I read the book and tried some of her down-home Southern recipes, I just couldn’t contain my admiration any more and had to share her greatness.

Before I get all stalker-ish, I’m going to move on to talking about this soup.  I had to try it because I truly didn’t believe this slightly strange combination of ingredients, combined with such simplicity, could be that good.  But it is.  It really is. Serve it on a hot summer day as a starter, or for lunch with a few sautéed prawns and summer squash on the side, and you too can be amazing like Frances.


“What you admire in others will develop in yourself.” -Christian D. Larson


Frances’ Summer Tomato Soup
(from Atlanta At Table)

6 to 8 best, ripe tomatoes, about 1-1/2 pounds (OR two 28-oz cans)
1 T tomato paste
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp coffee (leftover or made from instant)
3/4 T fresh chopped tarragon OR 1 T other fresh chopped herb like basil, dill, cilantro or marjoram.  (I used a combination of basil and sage.)
3/4 heaping cup plain yogurt
Sprigs of fresh herb for garnish

Cut tomatoes in quarters and drop 1/2 of them in a food processor.  Process in short pulses to obtain a chunky puree.  Add the second 1/2 of the tomatoes and repeat.  Place the chunky puree in a bowl and add salt and pepper.  Stir in remaining ingredients, reserving about 1/3 cup of yogurt for garnish.  Cover and chill.  To serve, ladle soup into bowls and give each a dollop of yogurt and a sprig of fresh herbs.



  1. Susan Adler Sobol · · Reply

    As you know, Cynthia, I don’t know Frances personally but I have followed her writing over the years. Making my acquaintance with her first through House Beautiful magazine and more recently discovering her blog. I have known you for about 24 years but had no idea about “The Water is Smiling” until I read about it on Frances’ blog! Small world! Susan


  2. Susan, I’m glad that you too have experienced the amazingness of Frances! Her style is just superb.


  3. It was reading Frances blog that I learned about you Cynthia and you all are are a treasures and it is a pleasure to read what you both write Such talent. Plus you are from Winnetka, love Duxbury and oysters–all of which we do too.


  4. Thank you Nancy! It is a joy to have you as a reader 🙂


  5. OMG Smiling Water! You devil you! My face is as red as that soup, and my heart as grateful as it is red. Thank you dear wonderful new friend and fellow blogger. How lucky we all are to have you in our lives, cyber and otherwise. Namaste, my sista.


  6. hollyejacobs873 · · Reply

    Love this!!! Love you all! Xox

    Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW http://www.thesilverpcom Twitter@hollyejacobs Instagram @thesilverpen Buy the book here:



    1. We love you back Hollye! Hope you are enjoying your amazing travels. Let’s all have soup when you return. xo


  7. You are very welcome Frances. Every word was true and from the heart! xo


  8. Hi!

    Your blog caught my attention thanks to the quality of your recipes. We would be delighted if you would join us on so that we could link to your blog. is a search engine that compiles the best American cooking sites and blogs from the Internet. We are one of the largest in the world with sites in 37 markets and thousands of blogs are already enrolled here and benefit from the traffic we are sending to their sites.

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    1. Thanks Emilie. I will check out your site and send my info. Happy to be part of your recipe world!


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