Heirloom Tomato & Roasted Beet Gazpacho

This recipe is featured today in Luri & Wilma, a smart magazine for smart ladies run by native Texan Charlie Heck.  I love the way they shot and featured this recipe, and just as much, I love this Tomato & Beet Gazpacho!  Click through the article below to read the whole issue online (there’s great stuff about fashion, body issues, and vintage duds inside) and scroll down for the full recipe!

Gazpacho Luri Wilma

 

Heirloom Tomato & Beet Gazpacho

Aside from being the perfect make-ahead, quick-cleanup recipe, I love this gazpacho because it relies on fresh ingredients for a bright and complex flavor.  The raw veggies lend a subtle spice to the cold soup, and garden herbs leave it freshly flavored.   Red and golden beets impart a deep magenta hue while keeping the soup slightly sweet.  Plus, this silky staple requires zero cooking and limited utensils, so you can stay cool in the kitchen while impressing your guests with a light supper.  This recipe will serve two as a main course or four as an appetizer.

You’ll need:

  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ large cucumber, seeded
  • ½ red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 beets (try for a mix of red & golden)
  • Handful of fresh herbs: basil, parsley, lemon thyme, chives.
  • 3 tbs red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil

First, finely dice the cucumber, red onion, and garlic.  Seed the tomatoes and dice them as well.  When it comes to tomatoes for this gazpacho, I opt for heirloom, but any blend of particularly juicy ones will do- Green Zebras and Brandywines are favorites.  Combine the vegetables in a large bowl and use an immersion blender to puree the veggies until smooth, adding the olive oil slowly.  To flavor the gazpacho, use any herbs you have on hand- I snipped a handful of basil, parsley, garlic chives, and lemon thyme from the window box.  Add 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, then cover the bowl and pop it in the refrigerator.

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Because the flavors of this gazpacho intensify with time, I like to keep it in the fridge for up to two days, then strain it using a fine sieve when I’m ready for a quick weeknight dinner.  Of course, if you don’t want to strain the veggies, you’re welcome to serve it chunky, but I’m always impressed with silky soups.  Serve it up in bowls with roasted shrimp, a creamy burrata, or toasted ciabatta for a simple supper.

gazpacho

xoxo,

Liz of The Hungry Texans

silky moroccan eggplant soup

title page

I found this recipe at the back of the most recent issue of Food & Wine and it looked too spectacular not to try myself.  I love the idea that it’s a spin on a traditional mezze, incorporating eggplant, lemon, radish & green peas.  Between steeping your garlic in half & half and roasting your eggplant, the soup is going to take a little over an hour to make properly, but it’s definitely worth it.

You’ll need:

2 large eggplants
2 cups half & half
6 cloves of garlic
1 rind of parmesan (although I just used a handful of parmesan)
1 lemon
1 cup sliced radish
1 cup green peas

Start by preheating your oven to 450.  In a small saucepan, combine the half & half, garlic, and parmesan and bring to a simmer.  Turn the stove off and let the mixture sit, off the heat, for 1 hour.

steeping

Oh, you have an hour to kill while the garlic steeps in the cream?  I have the perfect suggestion to help pass the time- roast an eggplant or two!

Slice your eggplant (hotdog style) and brush each cut side with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Place the eggplant cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, until the inside is tender.

eggplant roast

While the steeping and the roasting is happening, slice up your radish and thaw your green peas.  Store them in cute measuring bowls like the ones pictured below until you need them for garnish- if you don’t have cute measuring bowls, then you probably need to get a boyfriend who has sweet grandparents who will give some to you for Hanukkah.  But that could take a while, so just put it on the backburner.

bowls

After an hour of steeping, put the half & half mixture through a sieve, tossing out any solids. seive

When your eggplants are ready, scoop the insides into a food processor or blender (discarding the skin) and puree until smooth.  Food & Wine says to pass this mixture through a sieve, but I quite like the texture of a few eggplant seeds so I omitted.

eggplant puree

Stir the eggplant mixture into the half & half, add juice of lemon, and bring to a simmer, until the soup is heated.  Season with salt and serve with radishes & green peas.

creamy cauliflower soup

I saw cream of cauliflower soup on a menu Tuesday and I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. The only hope of exercising these cauliflower demons was to try my hand at my own and I’m glad I did! Now if the fam and I hadn’t risen at the crack of dawn and Turkey Trotted with a couple thousand of our favorite Houstonians, I might have opted for a lighter Thanksgiving lunch in anticipation of the real meal later this evening, but alas we jogged/ran/walked 5k miles and deserve to refuel our weight in whole milk and half and half. Sass aside, this soup could have been way heavier. Baby bro even remarked it tasted “light”.

I borrowed the recipe from the Pioneer Woman, and it’s a keeper! You’ll need:

~20 chopped baby carrots

2 stalks of celery

1/2 one white onion

1 stick of butter

3 tbl dried parsley

2 heads coarsely chopped cauliflower (I used one white & one golden)

8 cups of veggie broth

2 cups of whole milk

6 tbl flour

1 cup 1/2 & 1/2

1 cup soup cream

salt & white pepper to taste

Chop your holy trinity, your mirepoix & roughly chop bothheads of your cauliflower. I think it’s fun to have a mix of floret sizes–some itsy bitsy pieces & some coarser, rougher, bigger pieces.

In your favorite soup pot, melt 1/2 a stick of butter and add your onions. Sautee until they’re soft and then add your carrots, celery, and parsley. Sautee for 5ish minutes until they get soft and then add your cauliflower. Put a top on your pot and wait about 15 minutes (this is where I got impatient, but it’s worth the wait!). Then pour in all of your broth.Put your top back on and bring the pot to a boil.

Once you reach a boil, turn the heat down a little bit & in a separate sauce pan melt the other half of your stick of butter. Pour in 2 cups of milk & whisk in 6 tbl of flour. You’ll have a great white sauce, then pour this into the simmering pot. Add your cup of 1/2 & 1/2 and let those flavors gel for at least 10-15 minutes or until you’re ready to serve. I seasoned throughout, but now’s a good time to start tasting spoonfuls until your salt & pepper are just right.

Right before you serve, dump and stir in your cup of sour cream. Serve with your favorite crispy bread–I recommend an herbed loaf (ours was rosemary!).

 

le nouveau est arrive! french onion soup dumplings

a happy bijoulais nouveau to y’all!

bijoulais nouveau is really a cute little holiday.  i only learned about it since moving to DC- the closest I’ve ever come to speaking french in texas is “laissez les bons temps rouler!”  the young french wine is actually quite un-tasty.  it’s aged for only a few weeks, but brilliant marketing has awarded it an entire midnight celebration- brava!  french law prohibits the young red from being uncorked until 12am on the second wednesday of each november, so francophiles wait in anticipation.  a few classic dc bistros, like 1905 and Bistro du Coin, were throwing their celebrations  last night, but who were we fooling- 2am on a school night?

so i hunkered down with Boston Boy in my kitchen, while my roommates set some serious mood lighting and french music, and embarked on a journey into these french onion soup dumplings.  there are recipes for these little succulent pouches of magic all over the internet (ever since making their Cooking Channel debut), so i glanced at all of them and then decided on my own approach.  and here it is!

for 20 dumplings, you’ll need: 

20 wonton wrappers
2 onions (mix of red and yellow)
1/2 bouillon cube
1 tbs flour
10 sprigs of thyme
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups shredded gruyere or swiss cheese
1 french baguette
Optional: a cut of beef (we used new york strip)

1. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Thinly slice your onions and add them to the oil.  Give the whole thing a stir, then cover and let them cook for 10-15 minutes without messing with them.

2. While the onions are softening, dice your beef into 1/2 inch cubes (if you would like to make this vegetarian or if you don’t want beef in your dumplings, then omit this step and just heat your beef broth over low heat on the back burner).  Season with salt & pepper, then sear on each side over medium-high heat until they are caramelized.  Add your beef broth and dry white wine and a couple sprigs of thyme, then reduce the heat to low and let the broth & beef simmer.

3. Remove the top from the onions and stir in 1 tbs flour, leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme, 1 tsp salt & pepper, and 1/2 bouillon cube.  Re-cover and let simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.

4. When the onions are ready, you’re ready to start building your dumplings.  Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and dip each wonton wrapper in the beef broth (this makes the wrappers easier to work with and more flavorful).  Drop a tablespoon of the onions onto each wonton and wrap the sides up into a little onion purse.  Since you’ve dipped these into the beef broth, the dumpling edges will stick perfectly.  I preferred the more traditional onions, but Boston Boy added a cube of beef to each of his- man hunger!

5. Place the dumplings into an oven-safe dish, ladle the broth over your dumplings, and top with (a lot of) shredded gruyere and swiss cheese.  For that delicious crouton (arguably the best part of french onion soup), poke a toothpick through a cube of french bread and into each dumpling.  In addition to being delicious, these are like little buoys to mark where the dumplings lie.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, then broil for a minute or until the cheese is golden.

We had tons of broth and onions left since we only made a few dumplings, so we ended up just combining everything for a delicious french onion soup- hello leftovers!   And full disclosure: we popped the Bijoulais cork about an hour before midnight.  BB says we’ll be cursed with bad french kisses for a year… I haven’t noticed yet.

Butternut Squash Soup

Confession. Until this soup, I’d never cut, cooked, or seen the inside of a butternut squash before. It was a lot more like carving a pumpkin than cutting a vegetable. Pro tip #1: don’t try to peel it with a vegetable peeler. Pro tip #2: when skinning try to cut rectangular pieces. Pro tip #3: I recommend scooping the seeds with a spoon. Another confession. I used Rachel Ray’s veggie stock. It was very good. It was seasoned way better than your typical veggie stock.

Collect all of these ingredients:

Your spices: thyme, cayenne, 1 bay leaf, salt, pepper
4 cups of your preferred stock
1 cup water
2 average-sized butternut squashes
1 leek (just the white and light green parts!)
3 tbl Butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Chop, seed, and skin your squash in 2-inch cubes. Put it all in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and zap it for 14 minutes (14 minutes! yes, you read correctly). Once that’s thoroughly cooked, melt butter in a large pot, add the leeks & squash, cook for 10+ minutes. Then add 2 cups of your broth, to loosen your veggie mix up. Then add the second 2 cups, 1 cup of water & your spices (a couple dashes of thyme, 1 bay leaf, a pinch of thyme). Take the heat up a few notches until you get to a simmer, once you’re simmering reduce your heat and cook until your leeks look tender. Add the mix to your blender/food processor (be careful not to excede your “no liquid above this line” line). Pulse until smooth. Bring it back to the pot and back to a simmer. Add a 1/4 cup of cream for good measure. And season with S&P ’til it tickles your tastebuds.

Gingered Parsnip & Carrot Soup

As survivors of many a hurricane & tropical storm, these Texans weren’t terribly concerned about the Frankenstorm Sandy that threatened the East Coast.  But still, a girl’s gotta eat.  This is a recipe from my Boston Boy’s mama- she made it for Yom Kippur dinner last year and I would have seriously slurped up the whole pot if the rest of dinner hadn’t been so yummy (well, and because slurping up a whole pot of soup in front of your new boyfriend’s parents is pretty inappropriate.)

Full disclosure: I made this soup 2 days ago, also, for my house’s portion of an 11th street progressive dinner.  And then I made it again because it was so good.  It was the perfect amount for ~10 people at a dinner party or 2 people for lunch one day and breakfast the next morning when your eggs have somehow turned gross overnight.

you’ll need:

2 tbs olive oil, divided

1 lb carrots

1 lb parsnips

2 1/2 cups diced onion

1 tbs fresh ground ginger

4 cups stock (I used veggie stock the first time b/c my fellow HungryTexan is a veggietarian)

2 cups water

1/4 cup cream (omit if you’d like. BB’s mama doesn’t use this, but I couldn’t help myself)

1/2 cup thinly sliced parsnip to garnish

1 tbs chives to garnish

s&p, to taste

Start by dicing up your onion (I used red onion because that’s what i always had). Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a soup pot or dutch oven and let your onions simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes until soft.  While the onions are getting happy, peel and chop your carrots and parsnips into ~1 in slices.  Add your parsnips, carrots, ginger, stock, and water.  Bring this to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and cover.  Let this simmer for ~40 minutes until all of the veggies are tender.  Remove the pot from the heat for about 10 minutes.  Then blend using a food processor or your new adorable green emulsion blender.  I chose the latter 🙂  Season the soup with salt and pepper, to your taste.

And to top the soup, heat 1 tbs olive oil in a small saucepan and crisp up the thinly sliced parsnips until golden.  Finish with chives.

But wait!  You’re not quite finished yet.  I made some tasty gruyere croutons (which translated to a gruyere grilled cheese for our lunches).  Layer slices of Gruyere cheese between two thin slices of french bread or ciabatta and bake at 375 for ~15 minutes or until toasty.  Cut them into halves or into croutons.

Stay Dry!
xoxo,

The HungryTexans

Coconut & Lentil & SplitPea Soup

Have you picked up on a theme yet? You’ll soon notice a defining characteristic of these HungryTexans is our genetic inability to handle the cold. That’s right, despite three years in the Indiana tundra and a collective 7-years in DC (that’s right…it’s North of the Mason-Dixon line, so we’re allowed our “brrrrrrrrs!”), we continue to wear flats when it’s snowing, layer tights under our jorts, and frequently end up with icicle-locks (whitegrlwethair-lifestyle!).

Despite our inability to live/dress/work in the cold, we do our best to cook for it. Inspired by Liz’s mushroom soup and a craving for something hearty and home cooked (I spent the weekend eating at some charming chains in KCMO), I remembered this Coconut/Lentil/SplitPea Soup I’d made once upon a Texas winter.

My biggest fear when prepping this relatively simple soup was that the entire house would smell like an Indian restaurant. This is what happened the last time I toasted curry, and my fam didn’t let me hear the end of it! Thankfully, my curry toasting this time yielded an oh, so fragrant smell that warmed the house. Throw in the scent of simmering coconut milk, get ovah’ it! Yumyumyum!

Another one borrowed from one of my favorite blogs, 101Cookbooks:

1 cup / 7 oz / 200g yellow split peas
1 cup 7 oz / 200g red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups / 1.6 liters water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45g golden raisins
1/3 / 80 ml cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped

It’s pretty simple, so here are the cliff notes:

  1. Combine Split Peas/Lentils & 7 cups of water — bring to a boil!
  2. Add the carrot & 1/2 of your ginger (keep them simmering until they’re soft!) + start your salting.
  3. Toast your curry powder (be careful not to burn it!)
  4. Melt your butter in the pan and add all of the following goodness — curry powder, tomato paste, scallions, raisins & tomato paste
  5. Add your flavorful buttery mixture to the Split Peas & Lentils
  6. Pour in the coconut milk
  7. Let those flavors groove together for 10-15 minutes on low heat
  8. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and scallions

Mmmm, mmmm….good!

xo,

HungryTexans