Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

On a recent rainy night, I eyed the bowl of ripe tomatoes sitting on my counter and decided to make the soup I’ve enjoyed on so many evenings at my daughter’s kitchen table. I found her recipe, and in no time at all, I had a pot of deliciousness simmering on the back of the stove.

While I waited for the tomatoes to cook down in their own juices and herb-infused broth, I mixed up some gorgeous biscuits. These aren’t just any ordinary biscuits, mind you. They are the biscuits and if you’re smart, you’ll have all the ingredients on hand at all times because they will be requested by everyone you feed over and over again.

The soup and biscuits, with a green salad thrown in for good measure, is the perfect weeknight supper, whether you have to hurry off to an evening meeting, or you’re having a leisurely meal by the woodstove in your PJs. (Ahh, don’t you just love that thought?)

The soup also makes a savory first course for your fanciest company meal or a good midday warm-up for those who like to have something more than a sandwich in their lunch box.

This month is a glorious time of year, with so much abundance everywhere you turn. I like to celebrate it all by combining the last of the fresh Maine blueberries with crunchy apples in a fruit crisp. If you want to make a double batch and share some with your neighbors or co-workers, all the better!

Fresh Tomato Soup

Segue into autumn and the school schedule with a weekly soup night. Karen Schneider/For the Forecaster

3 tbsps. butter

1/2 cup onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsps. flour

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (the equivalent amount of high-quality canned tomatoes can be substituted)

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbsps. fresh parsley, minced

1 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced

1/4 cup basil, julienned, plus more for garnish

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1 bay leaf

Tabasco sauce, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Plain Greek yogurt for topping

Grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese for garnish

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for about 5 minutes until tender. Stir in flour and cook until bubbles form. Add stock and stir until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except sour cream. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. (Stir occasionally to ensure the soup isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.) Remove bay leaf and discard.

Allow soup to cool then very carefully transfer into a blender and puree. Return to pot to reheat. (You can also use an immersion blender.) To serve, ladle into bowls and top with yogurt, cheese and basil. Yield: 4 servings

Cheddar Herb Biscuits

2 cups flour

2 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsps. melted butter (Reserve 2 tbsp.)

1 cup cold buttermilk

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

2 tbsps. fresh herbs of your choosing, minced

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.

Stir melted butter into buttermilk then add to dry ingredients along with cheddar cheese and herbs. Combine just until ingredients stick together.

With your hands, press the dough into a thick disk on a floured surface and cut it into 8 equal pieces. (Dough will be slightly sticky.)

Place each piece onto the baking sheet, make loosely-formed balls and brush the tops with melted butter.

Bake for 15 minutes until the biscuit bottoms are browned and the tops are crisp. Yield: 8 biscuits

Blueberry-Apple Crisp

3 cups fresh blueberries

3 cups tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 tsp. cinnamon

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 7 by 11-inch baking dish. Mix together blueberries and apples in the dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and beaten egg until mixture becomes crumbly. Spoon over fruit. Drizzle melted butter on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Yield: 8 servings

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