What I had for dinner:
I've been playing with tomato soup for a while, trying to temper the tomatoes' acidity in various ways. My latest attempts have used licorice to a very satisfying effect.
First, cook a small handful of sliced shiitake caps in a mixture of 1/2 tbsp each of butter and oil. When the mushrooms are done, set them aside and cook one large shallot, finely chopped, in the oil/butter mixture until just beginning to turn brown. Caramelize one tsp of sugar briefly with constant stirring in the same pot, then add one (15 oz) can of tomato purée and 1 1/2 can of water at once (be quick, caramel will burn easily!), with 4 slices (about 1.5 grams) of Chinese licorice and 1 tsp of cayenne paste. Simmer covered for 1 hour, discard the licorice, add the cooked shiitake and salt lightly (the Roquefort will add a lot of salt).
For the toasts, slice thin rounds of slightly stale sourdough and toast briefly under a broiler. Let cool.
Crush thoroughly one small clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, and a small chunk of Roquefort (about 2-3 tbsp). Add a little olive oil to make a thick creamy paste. Spread lightly on the toasts and serve on the side.
Note: I use Chinese licorice, which is usually available in thin, slanted slices, because it is considerably cheaper than herb-store licorice sticks (about $2 a pound vs 25 cents to $1 a stick!). As far as I know, it is the same species as the European kind.