YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Golden Gazpacho Soup

You can think of gazpacho as soup and salad, both, at the same time. It will make a great first course at a nice dinner, but you can also take it to work for lunch (maybe with Mary’s Gone Crackers or a slice of toasted whole-grain bread). It would also make a scrumptiously satisfying mid-afternoon snack.

After my husband arrived home one time with a large tray of golden, acid-free tomatoes, I had my eye on those beauties from that instant on. We ate a few on Friday night, and a few more on Saturday. Then, I could no longer resist, so I swooped in on Sunday morning to pulverize the rest in my Vitamix! My husband said it was okay because he wanted to go buy more anyway. And he did.

I actually made this recipe to share at a barbecue and, no exaggeration, it was the best gazpacho I have ever made. Somebody was asking me for a gazpacho recipe the other day: If you’re reading this, use this one (with whatever tomatoes you have)! I love how simple it is. And I love that the tomato-ey sweetness is enhanced not with sugar but with red pepper and balsamic vinegar. Everything in this recipe comes in pairs: tomatoes and peppers, garlic and onion, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Alice Waters (The Art of Simple Food) would be so proud.

Ingredients:

9 medium golden-yellow tomatoes, quartered
2 additional golden-yellow tomatoes, chopped fine
1/2 red pepper, cored and seeded
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil (extra-virgin)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

Set aside the two chopped tomatoes.

Add the remaining tomatoes, red pepper, onions and garlic to the blender, and blend on high 30-45 seconds until smooth. Pour in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and blend again for 10 seconds more.

Pour the soup into a pitcher or large glass jar, stir in the chopped tomato, and leave to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to blend the flavors. 

Note: You are going to need a high-speed blender to make this recipe. A regular one won’t work because it isn’t strong enough to pulverize everything. There are a number of good high-speed blenders, like Vitamix or Blendtec, and you should feel good about getting a refurbished one, too. A friend of mine got a refurbished one and it lasted more than 15 years.

Finally, a homegrown gazpacho prayer: thank you sun, thank you rain, thank you farmers and, of course, thank you Vitamix.

Serves 8-10. 


Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup

Everything Yotam Ottolenghi touches turns to gold. If you don’t already have one of his cookbooks [Ottolenghi (2008), Plenty (2010), Jerusalem (2012)] in your home, prepare yourself. YO takes flavor to the next level. Look at this list of ingredients – I’ve used them all, but never to such glorious effect. And it’s not just flavor. He takes texture to the next level, and color. Surely his kitchen has more than three dimensions. Continue reading




YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: After-Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

No introduction is really necessary for this recipe. Just pop on over to the supermarket for some scallions and a little knob of ginger if you need, and make this soup with your leftovers. There’s a good chance you already have all the other ingredients. It’ll take all afternoon to cook, but only 10 minutes to throw together. The biggest time investment is looking through the bones for bits of meat. But don’t feel the need to go crazy looking for every last piece. Feel free to stop when you feel like it. It’ll be enough, and it’ll be worth it. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Fennel Vegetable Soup

The folks where I work are always coming up with the most sublimely delicious recipes. This is one. If you’ve never eaten fennel, you are in for a delicious treat. Raw, it’s crunchy and sweet, a bit like celery with a faint whiff of licorice. Cooked it’s a different vegetable altogether. A great addition to any vegetable soup recipe, it is a total team player, happily absorbing other flavors from the pot at the same time as it shares its own. Fennel comes in bulbs, and the easiest way to cut it up, no matter how you intend to use it, is to slice it in half from top to bottom, and then to slice the half-bulb into thin blades, all of equal length and width, as you work around the bulb. Continue reading



YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Vegetable Borscht

I wanted to share this vegetable borscht now(!) so that, hopefully, you’ll have time to make it the week (freeze), day (refrigerate), or at least the morning before you plan to serve it. Which means that, at the very least, you’ll want to make this recipe first thing in the morning to give its flavors time to blend. Besides its deliciousness, another one of the great things about this recipe is the fact that it meets the requirements of a great many different kinds of nutritional approaches. There’s nothing like making many people happy, all at the same time. And that’s not something that should be taken for granted, either! Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Gazpacho, Gazpacho, Gazpacho!

If your counter looks anything like mine, there is only one thing to do! Tomatoes are best stored and eaten warm, so you’ll probably be starting with tomatoes at room temperature. Make this early enough in the day that it has time to cool thoroughly. It will be worth it, especially on these hot, humid, late summer days. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red Pepper Bisque

If you’ve been looking for a way to branch out and eat more different vegetables, this is it. Every color in your diet represents a different phytonutrient, and every phytonutrient is like a building block for your good health. That’s why it’s important to eat the rainbow, to maximize the number of different colors on your plate, to spread your bets. If you have been feeling like you could use a little more on the red side of the spectrum, make this.
It takes just a few minutes to whip up this Red Pepper Bisque and IT IS GOOD. The original version comes from Food Babe, who has been generating terrific buzz on the subject of cleaning up our food supply and putting pressure on BIG COMMODITY FOOD to do the same. She has got it all figured out, and she’s on your side.

Continue reading