Owning a local business often affords me the unexpected opportunity to host a mini-reunion with dear friends who come back to town to visit.

Recently a friend I have not had the pleasure of seeing in over twenty years popped into my shop and we literally squealed like two young school-girls when we saw each other. And rest assured, before we had said our good-byes, she gave me a recipe for one of her very favorite soups. Friends and recipes should always go hand in hand.

Drumright’s Own, Pat Ernst’s Special Soup

2 Stalks Celery

1 small onion

2 cloves Garlic

½ cup butter – cubed & divided

2 cans (28 oz) Crushed tomatoes

1 can (15 oz) Chicken Broth

½ cup fresh basil chopped

1 (8 oz) Pkg Cream Cheese – softened

3 TBSP Agave Nectar (optional) I use 1 TBSP Sugar instead

Salt & Pepper

In food processor: celery, onion & garlic Puree

Put in large saucepan with ½ of butter SAUTE about 10 minutes

Then add Tomatoes, broth and ½ of the basil Boil & stir,

Simmer 15 minutes covered, stirring some

Cut Cream Cheese into ½ inch cubes , add to soup with basil, butter and Agave if used.

Stir, add Salt & Pepper to taste

Makes 8 cups