Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cool and Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Soup

Cucumber and Tomato Soup
Cool and Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Soup

Tomatoes are my very favorite food and this is another soup that is just plain good. Creamy and full of just-picked flavor, it's the perfect thing on a hot day.

It goes together quickly and easily with the use of a blender - no heat required! Choose an herb that you really enjoy, I like dill with the sour cream and cucumber in this, but basil would be lovely, too. Sriracha would also be excellent stirred into each serving. Use very ripe and fresh tomatoes for the best flavor.

Cool and Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Soup
Printable Recipe
Ready in 15 minutes
Serves 4 as a starter

6 large or 8 medium ripe plum tomatoes - peeled and seeded
3 medium cucumbers - peeled and seeded
1 small bunch green onions - tops and whites
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup sour cream (I like Mexican crema for this)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon freshly snipped dill plus more for garnish (or whichever herb you like)

Pop everything into a blender and puree until smooth. Chill for several hours if desired or serve as-is topped with extra herbs and sliced green onion.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro
Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro is a classic Italian soup from Tuscany that is rich and velvety with a blend of tomatoes, garlic, basil and stale bread. The flavors are simple but the soup is anything but.

We are in the throes of a heatwave here and soup is the last thing on my table as of late, but with tomatoes bursting red-ripe this year after a terrible blight last summer, I can hardly contain myself when it comes to the many delicious versions of tomato soup available.

Give this one a try and I promise you'll get cravings out of the blue for it later on.

Canned tomatoes are the best for this and I prefer San Marzano, which are tomatoes grown near Pompeii in rich volcanic soil and are sweeter and more flavorful than others. I also like my own home-grown plum tomatoes, but when I don't have or can't find either of those, just plain old canned tomatoes will do.

The bread should be stale by 2 days minimum and very crusty. Although Parmesan is not the usual, I really like it on this soup.

Pappa al Pomodoro
Printable Recipe
Ready In 30 minutes
Serves 4


1 can (28 ounces) whole San Marzano tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
30 basil leaves - torn or roughly chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups two-day-old crusty bread torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup good quality shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kosher salt to taste


1. Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot and add garlic and basil. Stir until fragrant and add tomatoes with juice and stock.
2. Reduce heat to a simmer and mash tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher. They don't need to be completely crushed. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes.
3. Add bread pieces and stir well. Let the bread soak up the juices and then stir until smooth an velvety. Salt to taste.
4. Serve with fresh basil and Parmesan atop.