Chilled Tomato and Stone Fruit Soup (aka Gazpacho)

2013-08-07 01.30.02

Gazpacho. That Spanish, tomato-based, chilled vegetable soup. Sometimes there’s just nothing better than a nice gazpacho on a summer evening. Last month when we were in Sonoma for our son Kyle’s wedding, I had gazpacho twice. At two different restaurants. Lasalette and Glen Ellen Star. They were both delicious, but I gotta say, the one at Glen Ellen Star was the best. Probably the best I’ve ever had. And the presentation was absolutely beautiful…the prettiest red color, with a little purple heirloom basil flower floating in the bowl. OMG. Tony and I went there for lunch, the day after the wedding. I’m not sure if it was that we were still floating on clouds post-wedding, but it was one of the best lunches ever. Gazpacho. The “sheet music” salad with mixed lettuces, cucumber, avocado, tomato, tahini dressing. A wood-fired white pizza with guanciale and arugula and a wood-oven roasted chicken skewer with tzatziki. OMG.

So when we got back to San Diego, the tomato plants in our garden were going crazy. Still on a high from the wedding and post-wedding gazpacho, I decided that would be a very good use of all our tomatoes. I’ve made gazpacho before. Our daughter Ally loves this grilled vegetable one from Bon Appétit several years ago, but it’s a pain in the a** to make. Delicious, but a pain. I thought I remembered seeing a recipe in a recent BA that sounded interesting, with cherries and peaches, in addition to the tomatoes. Found it. They actually call it Chilled Tomato and Stone Fruit Soup (not sure why they don’t just call it gazpacho?).

I made it. It was delicous. And so easy (I opted for the frozen cherries). Refreshing with just a touch of spicy from a jalapeño and a touch of sweet from cherries and peach. And it was a beautiful color. I actually served it twice – Tony and I had it the first for a light dinner, with a Caesar salad, and then a couple days later, I brought what was left to a friend’s for gazpacho “shooter” hors d’oeuvres (and talk about a nice presentation…garnished with a fresh cherry skewer!) I think it was even better a couple days later!

IMG_20130810_183959_626

Sorry, Ally, this will be the new gazpacho in our house.

Chilled Tomato and Stone Fruit Soup (aka Gazpacho)

(Bon Appétit, August 2013)

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds tomatoes (about 4), quartered

1 large English hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into pieces

1 large ripe peach, peeled, halved

1/2 jalapeño, seeded (or with seeds for a spicier soup), chopped

1/2 garlic clove

1 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) cherries (about 8 ounces), pitted

2 tablespoons (or more) white balsamic or Sherry vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

DIRECTIONS

Pulse tomatoes in a blender until finely chopped and transfer to a large bowl.

Pulse cucumber, peach, jalapeño, garlic, and cherries in blender until finely chopped and add to bowl with tomatoes. Mix in vinegar, 1/4 cup oil, 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 cup cold water; season with pepper. Cover and let sit at room temperature 1 hour (I did this and then stuck it in the freezer just to get it chilled…I mean, it’s gazpacho, it needs to be chilled!) or chill at least 12 hours.

Season soup with kosher salt, pepper, and more oil and vinegar, if desired. Serve soup drizzled with oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD: Soup can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Advertisements

Everybody’s Favorite White Chili

IMG_5494

It’s been really cold in San Diego lately. Seriously. I mean, not cold by like Green Bay, Wisconsin standards, but really cold by San Diego standards. It was 39 degrees when I got up this morning! Perfect weather to make Everybody’s Favorite White Chili. This recipe is from the very first issue of Bon Appétit that I ever received (remember that gift subscription for my birthday from my friend Linda?)…March 1991. It was called Timothy’s White Chili because it was from a restaurant called Timothy’s in Louisville, KY (which apparently has since closed).

It has chicken instead of beef and white beans instead of the usual red kidney beans. I garnish it with jack cheese, sour cream and cilantro. It’s a little spicy, really hearty and delicious. I’ve simplified it over the years, using a store-bought roasted chicken and canned beans. It’s a family favorite. In fact, I submitted the recipe for the cookbook that was put together at our kids’ elementary school back in 1999. I renamed it Everybody’s Favorite White Chili for that cookbook and the name stuck. Because it is.

It would be great to serve at a Superbowl Party. Or on a cold San Diego evening.

Everybody’s Favorite White Chili

INGREDIENTS

3 16-ounce cans Great Northern white beans, drained

2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 4-ounce cans chopped mild green chilies

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 cups canned chicken broth

Approximately 3 cups shredded jack cheese

Cilantro

Sour Cream

Instructions

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, then chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves, and cayenne pepper and sauté 2 minutes.

Add beans and broth and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Add chicken and 1 cup cheese to chili and stir until cheese melts. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle chili into bowls. Serve with remaining cheese, sour cream, salsa and cilantro.

Tortilla Soup (with or without chicken)

I forgot to garnish with cilantro! Aagh.

Let me just begin by saying that I ♥ tortilla soup.  And I was craving it something fierce the other night.  There’s a restaurant, La Torta, near us that makes the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever had. Tony and I go for lunch a couple times a month and usually split soup and a Carnitas Torta (the number 32T – Tio Cayos Carnitas Torta). Carnitas…that’s a whole other story.  But I just didn’t feel like getting in the car and going out for dinner.

Okay, back to the soup. I’ve had tortilla soup in a lot of restaurants and I’ve tried different recipes at home, but nothing comes close to La Torta’s. It’s just a little spicy and not too tomato-y. And I really like that it has pinto beans in it.  So, I figured it was time to do some experimenting in the kitchen. I played around with three different recipes and came up with a version that I think takes a pretty close second to La Torta’s. And it’s pretty easy.

Tony says this recipe is a keeper. We both really liked it and will definitely make it again. Of course, it absolutely won’t stop us from going to La Torta for a cup of soup and a 32T.

Note: after making this soup last night, I realized I hadn’t proofread the recipe very well and have made some changes – directions now use just already cooked chicken; I left out the chilies in adobo (what was I thinking?  Way tooo spicy!).  

Tortilla Soup (with or without chicken)

INGREDIENTS

4  5-to 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon each cumin, oregano, chili powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1  14-1/2 oz. can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes w/green chilies

1  14-1/2 oz. can pinto beans, drained

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

Bay leaf

juice of one lime

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Cilantro

Monterey Jack, aged white cheddar cheese or Cotija cheese

Diced avocado

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. Brush 1 side of tortillas with oil; cut in half. Stack halves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Spread strips on baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and spices until the onions are translucent and softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the lime juice and about a cup of the tortilla strips. Puree broth (w/a hand blender, in a food processor or in batches in a blender) until almost smooth, but with some chunks remaining.

Add beans and shredded chicken (if using) and heat through.

Ladle the soup into bowls.

Garnish with additional tortilla strips, cilantro, cheese and avocado.