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Spring indeed

24 Mar
Everything is better in a heart-shaped bowl.
Everything is better in a heart-shaped bowl.

Wouldn’t it happen that as soon as I let my guard down and decide to be excited about spring, we’d have a gray day with four days of snow in the forecast? Well. Let me tell you one thing. It might not look like spring outside, but it can be spring in my heart…aww. In lieu of that, it can be spring in my bowl and in my mouth. Even better.

 

Not knowing whether D would be available to come to our church St. Patrick’s Day party the Saturday before last (and, well, because we have an absolutely impressive reputation for making and breaking our own plans), I signed up to bring the least committal thing I could: dessert. Normally, I love cooking and baking for people, especially in my own house. But in potluck-type settings, there’s a part of me who knows that the offerings will be full of casseroles, Miracle Whip, Jell-O, and rolls picked up from the bakery, and that’s what people want and expect. I’m inclined to think that it’s not worth the while to rack my brain for some never-before-seen creation from the oven when either someone will slurp without tasting or a very cute, well-meaning child sticks their finger in the middle of. I know. I need a little attention when it comes to the food I make.

 

Despite these crucial, shattering circumstances, I thought anyway. I pondered, I prayed, I aspired to make Jamie Oliver’s Sticky Toffee Pudding or bring a plate of homemade donuts or Chocolate Clafoutis. And thought some more, and then forgot promptly once church was over.

 

The Saturday of the St. Patrick’s Day party rolls around, and fifteen minutes before it, procrastination and forgetfulness catches up, sits on me until I cry for mercy, and pushes me in the direction of the fridge and cupboard. It also threatened me with a life of only canned green beans unless I bought several pints of strawberries (they were on sale). Obviously, I obliged. Forgetfulness is a hard master.

 

So with five minutes until takeoff for the party (hooray for living really close to the church!), I scrambled and searched for something to pair with the strawberries, and you’re looking (look! look!) at the results: a regular bowl ‘o cream with a few twists. Cardamom, strawberries, and orange are good friends, but a word of caution: cardamom can be a pretty strong friend. You know that one friend who’s always the center of attention at every party? Right. Cardamom. The funny friend, but still. Once in a while, a strawberry would like a chance.

 

I’ve tried this both with plain, slivered almonds and sugared ones, with the vote that plain is best—the sugared almonds provide a crunch that is great in some places, but is kind of the guy at the gym wearing jeans and flip-flops on the treadmill; a little awkward.

 

I can see this with a variety of fruits, though I definitely wanted to stay away from the typical fruit salad offering. Blueberries would be a great addition, as would be a swirl of maple syrup. Let me know what variations you come up with.

 

Welcome, spring! (Please stay! Please! I am not native to Minnesota and can only do snow so long.)

 

-Erin

 

Spring Strawberries and Cream Bowl

 

This recipe is best made a few hours ahead of time, though it was born in about five minutes. Making it ahead of time allows the cream to absorb the cardamom and orange flavors.

 

Kitchen tip: Cream whips best when you use a chilled bowl, preferably metal. (I don’t have a metal bowl, but I just refrigerate a glass or ceramic bowl at least half an hour.) If mixing by hand, choose a large, sturdy whisk to incorporate the maximum amount of air.

 

Lastly, though the cardamom might seem exotic, this recipe has been certified both kid- and adult-approved. Miracle.

 

Prep time: About 7 minutes

Difficulty level: Not even close

 

1 pt. strawberries, tops removed, sliced thinly

1/2 C heavy whipping cream

scant 1/4 C granulated sugar

1 1/2 C plain yogurt (fat-free varieties tend to be grainy; Old Home is slightly better)

2 dried cardamom pods, ground (or 1/8 t cardamom, to taste)

1/2 t dried orange peel (or zest of one medium orange)

handful slivered almonds, divided

 

Set aside strawberries.

 

*In a large serving bowl, whip cream to soft peaks (~3 minutes with an electric mixer). Fold in sugar gradually. Fold in yogurt, cardamom, and orange peel or zest. Fold in strawberries, reserving a handful. Fold in almonds, reserving a handful. Top bowl with reserved almonds and strawberries.

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Another Fast Feast: Tomato Soup Provence

6 Jan
Topped with a bit of leftover summer herbs left dwindling...

Topped with a bit of leftover summer herbs left dwindling in a pot...

Hm, what can I tell you about this? Do you hate when you don’t know how to start a post and this prevents you from posting for, oh, a few weeks? Me too. All the time. Nevertheless, the job must be done, and I’m the one to do it, right? Right.

First, I love tomato soup, in so many forms. In fact, this is probably but one of at least a half-dozen tomato soups that I’ve made in my day (which is not a very long day, but still). The difference between this and other tomato soups is the flavor, oh, the flavor.

Have you ever used Herbes de Provence? It  is a blend of herbs originally from the southern part of France; which, I’ve read, does really have the aroma of some of the flavors in this blend. The blend commonly includes lavender, rosemary, bay leaf, basil, thyme, and in my blend, fennel. All this comes together in a very perfume-y mix, very flowery. Frankly, I could put it in my dresser drawers and be happy. But we’re putting it in soup today, where it lends a flavor that is just beautiful. Sorry to be a cliche food writer, but it’s true. And the aromas from the bubbling pot–you’ll want friends over just for that!

Besides the flavor, the second wonderful thing about this soup is its simplicity. As a maker of many, many soups, some of which have many, many ingredients, this is a great deviation from my usual habits. I often craft soups to be all-in-one meals, which necessitates a little thinking along the lines of including something from each food group and incorporating the major macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates). This soup departs from my habit, since it doesn’t have a sturdy protein backing; but America, most of us get enough protein in our diet that we could all be bodybuilders; too much, in fact. So consider this a healthy break! If you’re a vegetarian, of course, be sure to include a lean source of protein on the side or elsewhere in your day.

But back to simplicity. Once you’ve cut up your onions and garlic, you can have this soup on the table in twenty minutes, and since soups are easy to double, you might find yourself with several meals’ worth of food–where else do you get such a return on your investment? (And this is why I have an extra freezer.) Pick up some nice, crusty, whole-grain bread to serve on the side, and you’re set. I know you’ll be tempted to skip the goat cheese–it’s not in every fridge–but don’t. It is a perfect complement. (Hint: it’s most economical at Costco. Just find a friend to share it with, or plan on eating a lot of chevre.) Also fantastic–most of these items are things you’ve already got in your pantry or fridge! Aren’t I good to you?

As usual, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you! A very happy new year to you and yours. May this be the start of a healthy, delicious 365 days.

-Erin

Provence Tomato Soup

This recipe calls for two to three tablespoons Herbes de Provence; no, this is not a typo! The tomatoes can absorb a lot of flavor. Taste first with two tablespoons; adjust as needed.

Note: I topped mine with some stray herbs (oregano) still struggling in a pot on the kitchen table, but that was silly of me. Consider the green bits in the picture simply a clever color complement for photography.

From “raw” to eating: 20 min., appx.

Makes: a big pot full, enough for 8-10 servings+

Olive oil, for sauteeing
1 large onion (I used yellow because they’re cheapest and I’m like that), medium dice
2 large cloves garlic, finely diced
1 small can tomato paste
2-3 T Herbes de Provence
1/2 C white grape juice (my subsitute for white wine)
4 14-oz cans (I think that’s the size they are; the “regular” size, in other words) diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth, preferably homemade, low-sodium (but cheat if you must…don’t say I didn’t warn you, though!)

cracked pepper & salt, to taste
chevre (soft goat cheese), for plopping onto the top of each bowl

In a stock pot or your favorite large soup pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat; it should be enough to film the bottom of the pot. When the oil is hot (this will depend on your stove; it’s about two minutes for me), toss in the onion and garlic. Turn the heat down to medium-high. Sprinkle salt in; this will help the onions to “sweat” out their liquid. Saute garlic-onion mixture until nearly translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomato paste and Herbes de Provence, and grape juice; stir to incorporate. Add the tomatoes (including the liquid) and the broth. Cover and bring to a boil.

Taste and adjust for seasoning; to serve, ladle into bowls, top with a small scoop of chevre (it melts–so good!), and serve a piece of toasted whole-grain bread on the side.

Leftovers can be stored, refrigerated, for up to two weeks, or frozen, for two or three months. If they last that long!

Post-Election Day Chocolate Clafoutis With Chewy-Crisp Ginger Apples

4 Nov

Because we're Americans. And we deserve a reward!
Because we’re Americans. And we deserve a reward.

Let’s be honest. Or I will, since I’m the one writing here. This was the longest presidential campaign in United States history. I think it started in 1990, when I was eight. In the end, whether or not the candidate I vote for won, I still have that to celebrate–the end. No more commercials! No more negative campaign ads, slogans, dull debates, and endless media coverage! I’m shouting for joy here, with several sentences in a row ending with exclamation marks!

We’re in a bit of a rough patch economically, so most of the past month or two’s news reports have broadcast doom, doom, and the occasional proclamation of the end of the world. In other words, we need a break and a little indulgence!

I originally started out trying to adapt this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but sadly, I could not bring myself to google every metric measurement to convert it to my US cups and spoons. So the idea is Jamie’s, but I suspect that’s the end of the resemblance, much as I adore Jamie and his quirky ways.

Still having a few coveted apples left from our apple-picking adventure, I topped sauteed them in a bit of butter and candied ginger. It was an experiment, but oh, a delicious one.

Whether you’re nursing your wounds for your beaten candidate or celebrating the one you supported, you deserve this. Really.

Deviating from my normal emphasis on very nutrient-dense foods, I will make no comments about the nutritional content, except to beg you to remember that it is topped with fruit. And that even the healthiest people deserve dessert. Aren’t you proud to be an American? I am.

-Erin

Chocolate Clafoutis With Chewy-Crisp Ginger Apples

From “raw” to eating: 40 minutes (including prep time).

Makes: Two quite large servings, or four smaller ones.

This is a pretty rich dessert, so although some people may have eaten this in two servings (I’m not saying what people, but one of them has a food blog and the other is a Midwesterner), it’s probably a good bet that if you’re serving it to guests after a meal, it really serves four. Maybe more, if they’re pretty light dessert eaters. The blog owner and Midwesterner like dessert, I hear.

For the almond meal, I happened to have salted, roasted almonds around. I thought that they’d be way too salty, but they didn’t appear to harm the clafoutis at all. If you’re watching your sodium intake, feel free to skip the additional 1/8 t salt.

Also. This one is important: do not over-bake. The middle is meant to stay fudgy–if not, it’d be just another cake. And who wants that? No one, that’s who.

For the clafoutis:

½ C flour

2 t baking powder

1/8 t (a pinch) salt

1/3 C sugar

¼ C half-and-half

1/3 C chocolate bar chocolate (or the best stuff you have around)

½ C almond meal (almonds ground to the consistency of cornmeal, etc.)

Apple-ginger topping:

2 T butter

1 Cortland apple, sliced thinly into rounds

3 half-inch-cube pieces candied ginger (or the equivalent), chopped roughly

Make the clafoutis:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix flour, baking power, sugar, and almond meal together. Set aside.

In a double boiler on low or on a microwave at half power (I use the first method), gently melt chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and slowly add the half-and-half, whisking to combine.

Add chocolate-butter mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Pour into a buttered earthenware dish (I used a small bowl) and bake for 25-35 minutes or until it’s set on the edges but fudgy in the middle. That means it’s done!

Make the ginger-apple topping:

While the clafoutis cooks, make the topping. Make more than you think you need. Then sample it. Offer samples to anyone nearby.

In a frying pan or other non-pot-type pan (I am known for very technical directions), melt the butter over low heat. Do not let the butter brown. Add the chopped ginger candies and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Finally, add the apples. Raise temperature to medium-high. Cook until apples are nearly translucent and skins are chewy-crisp. Spoon over entire clafoutis or individual pieces.

Recipe: Garlic Croutons

23 Oct

Croutons are often the bread of choice around here—if you’ve only been using Mrs. Cubbison’s and have been putting them on your salad, you’re seriously missing out. Croutons are like sparkly earrings with your jeans—they make everything so much more dressed-up and accessorized with very little effort. And yes, this is one accessory that’s completely worth it.You might want to have a seat for this one, for I am about to reveal to you one of the best-kept secrets of my kitchen. No, the culinary world. No, the universe! Once you make these, like the boys and girls in Toyland, you “can never go back again.” Seriously, kids. If I were to make a formula out of this recipe, it’d go something like this:

Cut-up old bread + garlic + olive oil + salt + baking = croutons.

Less oil is needed than you'd think.

Less oil is needed than you think.

I feel silly already just posting a recipe to me that is less of a recipe and more along the line of instructions for turning on a light, but I’ve been taken aback so many times at how much people love this simple topping that I thought I’d feature it. If I asked, I don’t think anyone would be surprised that they could make their own croutons—like other things we’ve been used to buying, it just doesn’t occur to them. Or seems difficult and time-consuming. It’s neither, especially when the bread is pre-made. (Did I just endorse using something with the prefix “pre” in it? Yes. Yes, I did. I’m feeling okay.)

One of the prime ways we like to eat croutons.

One of the prime ways we like to eat croutons.

My only cautionary note is that while you’d never eat an entire loaf of say, bakery bread by yourself, you’d be surprised how dangerously easy it is to drive on the edge of that cliff when that loaf of bread becomes croutons. They may seem small, but it only takes a handful for you to realize that you’re really not hungry any more. When you can’t figure out why, I’ll help you out: you just ate an entire loaf of bread. Possibly by yourself. Good friend that I am, however, I’ve let you know ahead of time, so all will be well. (Side note: the whole-loaf-eaten thing doesn’t phase the Midwestern Meateater, so if you’ve got such characters around, don’t be surprised how not horrified they are at this thought.)

Happy eatings!

-Erin

Garlic Croutons

If you’re feeling particularly passionate, your own homemade bread would work fine for this recipe, of course, and all the more power to you for it; homemade bread that I’ve tasted, however, is much heavier than a store-bought version, so keep in mind that this characteristic will transfer to your croutons, too.

Tip: I like to buy day-old, discounted bread for this recipe. If it’s to be found in abundance, I buy in up in droves and freeze it, using it for later. It’s extremely affordable (a euphemism for “cheap”) and makes me feel good about using something that would be thrown out. (I worked in too many bakeries. I know.) If you can’t find old bread, however, non-old bread will work just fine—the action of toasting them in the oven takes care of that.

From “raw” to eating: 10 minutes

Makes: a loaf’s worth of croutons…share. Share!

Inside:
1 loaf store-bought bakery bread, un-sliced and a few days over the hill
2 cloves garlic, bashed and minced
2-3 T olive oil
salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Slice bread into long ½” batons and then into ½” cubes. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle minced garlic around as evenly as possible. Drizzle oil oil; not much is needed. Lightly toss with hands to coat. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

Toast in oven for ~10 minutes, checking once halfway through and rotating if necessary.

Wanted: a good broth fitting

9 Oct

Background

Seeing as I’m a garage-sale going, clearance-only-clothes-shopping, and saver of all things kind of girl, it only made sense to make my own chicken broth, too. I’d been saving chicken bones for over a month in preparation for my first great big broth making, which would turn out to be marvelous and clever of me, since the season of my at-least-twice-weekly soup-making would be coming. Crowds would cheer, my popularity would increase, and the grass on our new lawn would be just a little thicker. And the garbage would take itself in and out of the garage. My freezer would be prepared for the onslaught of winter, but most importantly, I would, for the first time, have my own chicken broth, just as the experts have recommended there is no substitute for.

A Crime Was Committed

And now comes the bad news: the sun did not shine on my broth. The clouds were out, it rained, it thundered…well actually, it was just muddy. Like my broth.

I will tell you my process, and perhaps you can tell me where I went wrong. Please tell me. I meant it. Not to be too proud of myself, but cooking has yet to be an obstacle to me–it just makes sense and usually comes out the way I picture it, or I improvise to make it into something else that seems intentional (kind of like stage acting–never making a missed line obvious). I even followed directions on this one–major step for me. Seeing that this was not my prescription, I am especially confused at the results.

How the Crime Was Committed

No recipe this time, but I thought it would be valuable even to admit my mistakes. Plus, a lot of you are brilliant cooks and will know exactly where I went wrong. And will tell me (nicely, of course, since my ego is noticeably damaged).

Pre-roasting. The backbone of the broth is here. But it broke, apparently.

Pre-roasting. The backbone of the broth is here. But it broke, apparently.

1. Roast the following at 325 F for appx. one hour:

~three lb. chicken bones (with some meat on)
three stalks celery
eight baby carrots (yeah, I know, should’ve been more, but I wasn’t quite smart enough to not know I didn’t have enough)
half of one yellow Vidalia onion, cut into large pieces and separated
six whole peppercorns

2. In a large stockpot (um, large…mine is 16 quarts, ridiculous, I know), combine roasted vegetables, chicken bones and 4 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a slow boil. Reduce to low simmer and let flavors combine for 1-2 hours. Taste and add salt if needed.

At this step, I skimmed the fat off the top. I did everything mother Donna Hay told me to in her recipe. With hope in my heart and little birds alighting on my arms (which made coordinating difficult), I dipped my spoon into the broth and prepared myself for a fame and fortune…well, in broth. It tasted like water. Chicken-y water. What the. I added salt. No dice. A little more? No. I wondered if there had been enough time to simmer. I simmered some more. Tasted. Chicken-y water. No movement in flavor at all. I panicked. I did the only kind of pardonable and put in a quart of very cheap generic chicken broth in, let it simmer to combine, and gave up. I strained the broth into containers and looked forward to a better day, when as Sting says, “a day when [chicken-y] problems never got in the way.”

Definitely not clear.

Definitely not clear.

To ladle (haha!) pain upon pain, the broth wasn’t even the clear I know I should’ve gotten. I suspect this had to do with the store-bought broth, but maybe I’m just trying to save myself at this point from more embarrassment. My other thought is that I simply over-estimated the amount of water to add. Quite possible.

So, dear readers, many of you have insight on this topic and have had glory days of broth making. Others of you have gleaned knowledge from our favorite search engines and people who know more stuff than I do, which would be just about everyone. What can you tell me about what I did wrong?

If no steps seem blatantly awful, does anyone out there have a suggested pattern I can follow to broth salvation? If I conquer the next batch, I would like to move on to a vegetable broth; however, at this point, I fear for the future of all broths made by me.

Lastly, I give this plea: “Will you still love me [for the rest of my blog]? Cause I can’t go on. I can’t go on. I can’t go on…if my broth’s like this.” Thank you, Chicago. I should get some points for using two musical references with lyrics in this post.

Grown-up Mac and Cheese: Sage and Ham Version

6 Oct
As you can see, it was well-liked.

As you can see, it was well-liked.

I grew up on the blue box macaroni and cheese (yes, you know the one), and at the time, I thought it was delightful. In fact, it was a sure sign of affluence in my mind when my friends had character macaroni—when the pasta was shaped like a Barbie or whatever. Those were fancy friends, and I probably should’ve done a better job keeping in contact with such rich people. However, you grow up, and as your body gets bigger, your mind gets stronger, and it’s great to learn! ‘Cause knowledge is power! Actually, those are lines from “Schoolhouse Rock,” but still applicable, as well as catchy; hopefully, your taste buds grew up when you got older, too. My mom’s dreams were realized, I believe, when I would eat fish.

Despite my obvious and impressive maturation, good ‘ol mac ‘n cheese still has a homey appeal, and its place in the American psyche will probably never change. Still, the blue box won’t cut it anymore, so it’s time for an upgrade.

I make several versions of grown-up macaroni and cheese: tomato-pea, herbs de Provence, some with white cheeses, some with orange cheese, some with soft cheese, and some with hard. If I were really a high-roller, I’d be melting things like Gouda or gruyere in here, but I’ll have to dream. If you do put some higher-end, gourmet cheeses in, leave me a comment and let me know which ones you use. And if you could, please come bring me some to try. I’m a very nice person.

~Erin

Grown-up Macaroni and Cheese: Ham and Sage

This recipe includes one my lengthier instruction sections, and a few more steps than usual. Don’t be daunted, though—as with everything else I make, there’s nothing complicated here. If you can make “blue box” macaroni and cheese, you can do this. And you’ll be very glad you did!

From “raw” to eating: 30 min., appx.

Makes: a huge bowl full, 8+ servings

Inside:

1 lb. whole-wheat macaroni

1 ½ C milk
1 small onion
1 clove garlic, smashed
6 whole cloves
1/8 t nutmeg, grated

2 T butter
2 T milk

½ lb. smoked ham, cubed
~6 mature (large) leaves fresh sage (about 1 T), chopped into ribbons or flecks
½ C shredded parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper, to taste

1/3 C pre-seasoned panko bread crumbs (or make your own)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1-2 T liquid the pasta cooked in. Put macaroni in a large bowl (you’ll be cooking in this bowl.) Add ham and sage (don’t need to mix at this point). Set aside.

Poke the cloves in the onion—like studding an orange with cloves at Christmastime.

Put milk, studded onion, smashed garlic, a little salt, and some pepper in a medium saucepan. Place the saucepan on medium-low heat on a stovetop. While the milk heats up, make a roux: in the same pan you cooked the macaroni in, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a roux. Set aside.

When the milk just barely starts to steam, remove from heat (you don’t want to develop a skin on the milk). Remove and discard clove-onion and garlic. (Technique note: you’ve just infused the milk. This technique allows a liquid to take on flavors without retaining the things you used to flavor it (onion, garlic). You’ll recognize this technique from tea-making. Hooray, you!)

Combine roux and milk mixture. Stir to fully incorporate. Gently pour over macaroni mixture. Stir in parmesan cheese. Top with bread crumb mixture.

Cook at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until set (doesn’t jiggle). Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Makes excellent, cuttable leftovers.

Not mine: Tangy fresh tomato soup

5 Sep
Mmm, mmm good. Consendensed what?! Campbell's ain't got nothin' on this.

Mmm, mmm good. Condensed what?! Campbell's couldn't do it if they tried. Well, maybe. But this is better anyway.

I realize that not only are not all good recipes created by me, but that sometimes I actually use a recipe–someone else’s, to boot! That’s where this one came from. I have been multiply blessed by heaps and pounds and ginormous quantities of other people’s home-grown produce; mostly in my own generous family. Heaps of yellow cherry tomatoes, which the people who grew and sold the plants to my dad said tasted “like candy.” Personally, I don’t think tomatoes taste like candy, because I had a Lindt chocolate-orange square earlier and there was definitely a difference. But yes, they are sweet.

In addition to the controversial yellow cherry tomatoes, I’ve gotten six-pound zucchini (I’m estimating on the low side here), big, thick, heavy, sandwich-slice tomatoes, yellow and red heirloom in all sizes and with a variety of kinda fun bubbles marking them as heirloom, and small red cherry tomatoes. Unfortunately, that bounty comes with a price.

I have been a saver of things since who knows when. Money (how else were we able to get a house after less than a year of marriage?), new clothes (always waiting for a “special” occasion, thus going un-worn), even leftovers (the Midwestern Meateater is careful about what he eats, in case I’m using it for later). Hence, I “save” the produce for a “special” occasion. However. Special occasions involving leeks, mint, rosemary, thyme, dill, cilantro, sweet corn, mounds of tomatoes, new potatoes, peaches, and cantaloupe in one meal, well, they don’t come often. And if they do, I don’t have either the time or stomach for them.

So, tomatoes got given to me, tomatoes got saved by me, and then tomatoes got…away from me. Squishy. But now…oh, now I have a tasty soup, courtesy of Martha. Well, no. Courtesy of Martha’s huge company. (I need that caveat, because on a personal level, I am not a fan of Martha’s…but her decision-makers have produced a mighty many things that I like.)

This soup is written to be eaten chilled, which I’m sure would be great on a hot summer evening or afternoon. However, our “summer” days happened to get a cue from Labor Day that summer was apparently over, because the day I made this, it was cold and rainy. Thus, a hot soup.

Tangy and sweet, this soup is incredibly pungent. The flavors are like summer–bold, intense, and bright. It would warm you in the winter, too.

Nutritional low-down

Everything in here is good for you. Everything. It’s like V8 that tastes good and doesn’t smell bad. Drink it. Eat it. Freeze it. I suspect it would be a great base for another soup, and a creamy version is very tempting.

The recipe

Find the recipe here, since I’m sure there’s a reason I’m not supposed to post it…like that Omnimedia didn’t exactly give me permission.

What’s in it? I can tell you that:

  • tomatoes
  • fresh, grated ginger
  • fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • sugar
  • love.

I added a bit more sugar than called for to cut the acidity, but I also used quite a bit of yellow cherry tomatoes, which are more acidic than their red counterparts. If you prefer sweet versus tangy, I suggest using only red tomatoes, particularly varieties like Roma, which are low-acid. The recipe calls for serving with a yogurt-lime dollop, but that will also increase ye olde tang.

My favorite part: if you plan to serve it cold, all it involves is a little chopping and a blender. That’s it. Yes, really.

I served it with hot garlicky lentils and toasted, crusty bread–the Midwestern Meateater would think he needed something else if I didn’t include a slab of protein. Very good all around.