Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Soup

Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper SoupBlended Summer
I am not a fan of hot weather. I am okay with warm weather which in my world means anywhere from 70 to 85. Anything above that is, as my daughter would say, so gross. And I don’t subscribe to the “At least it’s a dry heat” notion. Hot is hot. Though, I admit, hot with humidity is just…I can’t. I’ve experienced some of the worst heat and humidity this world has to offer from Atlanta in July to Mumbai at any time and I will tell you straight up no way can I live in that environment.

Heat can be a good thing. For example, the recent hot days we have been enjoying and the somewhat cooler nights mean that my tomatoes are literally ripening overnight. The flip side of that is we’re having a hard time keeping up. And there might be some tomato fatigue as far as what sounds good for dinner.

So, as a way to use a bunch of tomatoes at once as well as have something tasty yet cold for a light lunch or even just a mid-afternoon snack, I made this gazpacho from one of my favorite cookbooks, Curate by Katie Button. I like this particular recipe for Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Soup because it is smooth. Some gazpachos are a bit chunky which I find difficult to drink. Also, the soup uses the other veggies in my garden. It pairs well with a side salad for lunch or works as an appetizer before dinner. It’s also great for the beach. Just keep it cold in the cooler.

Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Soup Recipe
Yields 6 to 8 servings
Adapted from Curate by Katie Button Read more…

Red Pozole

Red PozoleSummer Soup Supper
When the weather starts to get warm, the last thing people think about for dinner is a bowl of soup. I mean who wants soup when it’s 90 degrees outside, right? And I agree for the most part. But, there is at least once exception to that rule. At least in my mind…

There are few dishes that are as quintessentially Mexican than a bowl of pozole. It’s a hearty, filling bowl of pork or chicken with hominy and the flavors of chili and lime. Pozole is everything you could want when you just have to have the flavors of Mexico. And, it is just as appropriate in winter when you need to something flavorful and filling to warm you up as it is in the warmer months outside on the patio for a relaxing dinner with a margarita. Just grab some from the fridge, give it a gentle warm up and enjoy a great meal al fresco with some fresh radishes from your garden—if you are lucky enough to have them.

Obviously, this is a make-ahead weeknight dinner as it takes more time to put together than we usually have on a Wednesday night. But, if you make this your Sunday project, all you need to do is prep the garnishes to add to your bowl for a fast and satisfying dinner. Any leftovers can be put in the freezer for another night.

Red Pozole Recipe
Adapted from the Mexican Food Journal
Yields 12 servings

This recipe yields an ample 12 servings—plenty to enjoy for dinner with leftovers for future meals. Pozole makes a rich and satisfying dish with your choice of meat in a mildly-spicy chile broth. Fresh garnishes complete the dish. Read more…

French Onion Soup

French Onion SoupBon aperitif!
For the most part, I don’t use a lot of alcohol in the recipes I make. Except for wine. And beer. OK, maybe I just don’t use the hard stuff a lot with the exception of the occasional tequila lime shrimp (or chicken). All kidding aside, I do tend to leave alcohol out of certain recipes if I think they don’t really need it. For example, I leave the booze out of my tiramisu because I think the flavor competes too much with the coffee. Blasphemy, I know.

There are some recipes, though, where that alcohol flavor is a must. Beef and Guinness Stew is one. Coq au Vin is another. (I mean, it’s in the name. You can’t leave it out.) And, of course, desserts too numerous to count, that can either be lit on fire or not. (I see you Bananas Foster Bread Pudding).

Sometimes, you just gotta add a little pick-me-up to whatever your making. A splash of white wine in your Chicken Pot Pie gravy makes a world of difference without overpowering everything else. And having a little glass for yourself while you cook is a lovely reward for your hard work. I confess to having a bit more reward than usual lately. I have found it a little bit harder in recent days to leave the happy bubble that is my kitchen but, alas, we must soldier on.

If there is one recipe that requires the addition of alcohol to make it right, it is French Onion Soup. Not only do the flavors of wine and Cognac give the soup it’s distinctive flavor, it’s just so French.

With the weather actually feeling a bit fall-like this week, I am planning on making Julia Child’s version this weekend. It is quintessentially French and Julia would definitely be okay with a little wine for you as well as the soup…

French Onion Soup
Adapted from Julia Child and the Food Network
Yields 4 servings Read more…

Pork Chile Verde

Pork Chile VerdeNetflix and Chile Verde
Last week I made something I haven’t made in…forever. Pork Chile Verde. I love Chile Verde but it takes a while. So, it’s not something that frequently graces my dinner table. I tend to only order it when we go to a restaurant for Mexican. In this instance, I had boneless pork shoulder in the freezer that kept getting in my way and driving me nuts. And I wanted to figure out what to do with it beyond the usual pulled pork.

On impulse, I bought a bunch of tomatillos and brought them home for no other reason than I was bored with the usual stuff, (And, they were in a basket next to the jalapeños and Anaheim chiles which are a veggie drawer staple in my house.) I had no idea what I was going to do with the tomatillos but having them on hand must have lead me to the whole Chile Verde epiphany.

The urge to make Chile Verde sent me into this somewhat manic desire to create an entire experience like going to our favorite Mexican restaurant. I made the Mexican rice and the refried beans as well as the tortillas. I even went so far as to make flan for dessert. (So worth it!). I mean, it’s not like I had anything else to do so why not? If we can’t go out to eat, then we’ll do it at home with plenty of margaritas in the blender.

The key to this dish is meat that isn’t too lean which is why pork shoulder is great. You gotta have the fat or it will be dry.

Pork Chile Verde
Adapted from The Food Network 
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…