Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Soups (for Riley), or How to Not Neglect Your Blender

Riley has a lot of tomatoes. To solve such a delicious predicament, I recommend immediate application of gazpacho. And just for kicks (and because it's peach/cantaloupe season), I recommend further application of Peach-Cantaloupe soup for dessert (though perhaps not in the same day; that's a lot of pureed fruit). I've made each of these a few times, but not yet this season-- I'll post pictures when I do. The gazpacho recipe gets its basics from a recipe my Mom has (of unclear origins), but it's been altered over time and generally proceeds in an "Eh, that looks like enough X" fashion. I've tried to be a bit more useful than that here, but it's a really forgiving recipe so don't stress if you don't have exactly enough of any ingredient. The Peach-Cantaloupe soup comes directly from "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest," which is a wonderful cookbook by Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood). She has delicious ways to prepare all sorts of fresh veggies and fruits, as well as a chapter on bread which is both inspiring and easy-to-follow. Onwards and soupwards...

Gazpacho for Riley
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion or a handful of green onions, diced
3 c. tomato juice*
2 large tomatoes, peeled** and chopped
1 bell pepper or 2 poblanos, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (or a dash of hot sauce)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
two splashes vinegar (apple cider is good, or whatever you've got)
two heavy drizzles of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

*If you're feeling particularly inundated with tomatoes, make juice out of them yourself instead of buying canned. Peel (see below), halve or quarter, scoop seeds out, and blend.

**To peel tomatoes (easily): bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes and simmer for 60 seconds. Dunk in ice water. The skins should slip right off; if not then boil them for a few more seconds. (This also works for peaches/plums!)

Blend half of cucumber, half of onion, half of bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, tomato juice, and oil/vinegar (in batches as necessary). Add to remaining ingredients. Chill at least 2 hours. Slurp up. Really good with rosemary sourdough bread and fresh mozzarella or more olive oil. It looks pinkish when you first make it (see photo) because the tomatoes get frothy, but regains a rich red color after chilling.

Peach Cantaloupe Soup (credit: Mollie Katzen, with minimal alterations)
6 medium ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (see above for peeling tip)
1/4 c. dry white wine
6 T. lemon juice (from one juicy lemon)
1 T. honey
1/4 t. cinnamon (MORE!)
dash of nutmeg (make it two)
1 medium-sized ripe cantaloupe (5" diameter or so), seeded and diced
1 c. OJ

Place all but cantaloupe and OJ in a heavy saucepan. Heat to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree peach mixture with 3/4 of the cantaloupe and OJ until smooth. Pour into serving bowl. Add remaining cantaloupe chunks and chill for 2 hours. Garnish with fresh blueberries and mint. And whipped cream if you're feeling adventurous.


  1. completed both recipes!
    the Gazpacho was delectable, though a bit intense in the garlic department. I blame the fact that I stubbornly decided to make my own tomato juice in spite of only having 2 tomatoes to do so. Thus, lots of garlic, small amount of base. In the future I will make sure to use many more tomatoes. hundreds, in fact. the whole tomato army.

    the peach-cantaloupe soup was also delectable, in that sort of "i think I'm eating a melted smoothie right now and it doesn't hurt as much this way" way. being short on patience and long on hunger, I didn't bother to procure the suggested garnisheese (I have no clue how to pluralize that) so instead tried using... more nutmeg. Which was still pretty good, though if I ever simultaneously end up with both blueberries and fresh mint I will need to make this (or some derivative thereof) again.
    also: the second soup was an interesting exercise in fruit recognition. I now have an extra honeydew and more of an inclination to double check that I in fact remember what the food looks like before purchasing.

    thank you so very much. on to snacking on a derivative of one of your curry recipes on here.

  2. Hurrah! I think I'm making gazpacho tomorrow because there are about 20 almost-ripe tomatoes in the garden, and I'll try to make it pretty and take pictures. Which reminds me, my linguistics degree officially failed to tell me how to properly pluralize garnisheseezz. (Now with extra Zs!)