Tag Archives: Soup

The Soup of Summer – Gazpacho

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” Kurt Vonnegut

Gazpacho, with Cilantro and Vegetable Chips
Gazpacho, with Cilantro and Vegetable Chips

After the summer solstice,

and especially after the Fourth of July,

my husband Mark was asking for gazpacho.

It’s what you need all summer long, especially when there’s a heat dome hanging over the country and even San Diego is humid and heavy. 

So, when Barbara and David were coming in from Arizona (definitely one hot place!), one of the first entries on the Happy Hour menu were Gazpacho Shooters.

My Gazpacho

To my mind and taste (and my recipe), gazpacho should be an island holiday, aromatic with fresh herbs, seductive with fresh tomato fragrance, glistening with a beautiful olive oil. All the ingredients should be fresh and harmonious, smoothed into a compatible, thick liquid that sings its own cool breeze song, with no harsh notes.

It takes some balancing, whatever the quantities written down in the recipe, to blend the flavors of the the fresh ingredients, as they are now, in this moment. Buy the most fragrant you can find in the store (I never buy tomatoes without smelling them – if no fragrance, no sale.) Taste and balance, taste and season, maybe just a little. It takes some time and attention.

And, it must be well chilled. Get a bottle of tomato juice that contains only tomatoes and have it in the fridge for at least a day. Mix up your batch of gazpacho and tune it, then chill it for at least a good 4 – 6 hours before serving. 

Anyway, that’s the way I like it. And, apparently so did the gang at the Happy Hour. Some soup even went home to go to the Hollywood Bowl with Russell and Emily the next day.

Everyone Else’s Gazpacho

Everyone seems to have been coming up with Gazpacho this summer, some with watermelon, some with extra cucumber, some quite classical.

 Some (like the one that came out today from Ina Garten) is  quite like mine, which, in turn, is based originally on the recipe in Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. I’ve been cooking out of it since the 1970’s, so the cover’s come off and it is full of my notes and scribbles. 

So try mine, or try others, see which you like the best… and keep cool.

Or, just give me a day’s notice, and I’ll make some for you.


Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Gazpacho – Cool Summer Soup

Gazpacho, with Cilantro and Vegetable Chips
Gazpacho, with Cilantro and Vegetable Chips

Based originally on the  Moosewood Cookbook recipe by Mollie Katzen, published in the ‘70s, I have expanded and modified this gazpacho recipe using all fresh, whole ingredients.

This latest version, based on what I made recently, makes nearly a gallon. I filled up a 3.5L container.

The key to this recipe is the taste checking as you assemble it, both in quantity of ingredients and seasonings. The ripeness and flavor of the tomato and cucumber and jalapeño components can vary throughout the year. This is a summertime favorite, not just for coolness in hot weather, but because of the ripeness of the components. Quality counts.


Ingredients (Onion)Ingredients

  • 3 cups cold tomato juice – chilled overnight is best
  • 8 organic Roma tomatoes, peeled, deseeded, and diced
  • 1 cup fragrant cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 whole English cucumber, cubed
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced (about a cup)
  • 1 large green pepper, diced (about a cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large scallions, chopped
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (or lemon or a combination)
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons white Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 jalapeños, deseeded and deveined, minced
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • For garnish when serving: fresh cilantro

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – Combine all ingredients in a blender (using the lower quantities initially if you are not sure) and purée for 5 pulses or more, until well-blended and of thick consistency, but still showing bits of the various ingredients. You may have to do this in batches for a smaller-bowled blender — just pour each of the batches into a large bowl and stir to blend flavors.

2 – Taste. Adjust any of the ingredients to your liking, for example, more tomato juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, jalapeño, cumin, olive oil, honey, etc.

3 – Chill for several hours (at least 4), or overnight.

4 – Stir well before serving. Top each serving with a few cilantro leaves, even another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Goes well with crunchy vegetable chips, too.

First published by Barbara Newton-Holmes on www.CulinaryOracle.com
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com

©2016 Barbara Newton-Holmes

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Bean and Bacon Vegetable Soup

8 – 10 servings

Bean and Bacon Vegetable Soup
Bean and Bacon Vegetable Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup uncured (without nitrites, etc.) thick-cut bacon in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup carrots, medium dice
  • 3/4 cup celery, medium dice
  • 1/4 cup split red lentils
  • 3 small (or 2 large) garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach or thinly sliced curly kale
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 32 oz. (4 cups) chicken stock, homemade or organic
  • 2 – 14 oz white beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
Bean and Bacon Vegetable Soup - before stock and beans
Bean and Bacon Vegetable Soup – before stock and beans



1 – Heat olive oil over medium high until shimmering, then add bacon. Cook for 5 minutes, or until well rendered and beginning to brown along the edges.

2 – Add onions and salt. Stir and sauté for a couple of minutes, until onions are becoming translucent and softened.

3 – Mix in carrots, celery, lentils, and garlic, sautéing for another 5 minutes.

4 – Mix in kale, tomato paste, mushrooms, red pepper, and thyme. Cover and let cook for 3 minutes, allowing mushrooms to release moisture.

5 – Mix in stock and beans. Give it a good stir, but without smashing up beans. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes.

6 – Taste broth, and add more seasonings (salt, red pepper, and thyme), if needed. Serve immediately.


Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Thai Coconut Chicken Soup


4 – 6 servings
This calls for a visit to an Asian market (like 99 Ranch Market) for the ingredients. I’ve included some additional vegetables and a hefty portion of fresh mushrooms to make a main course dish.

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1 1/2 cups sweet onion (about 1/2 large onion), thinly sliced, 2 inches long

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

1 – 14 oz can coconut cream or, if you use regular coconut milk, use 2 cans and reduce the stock by 1 1/2 cups

4 cups organic chicken stock, if using coconut cream. Or, if using coconut milk, 2 1/2 cups organic chicken stock

3 stalks lemon grass, old leaves peeled away, washed thoroughly, then cut into 1 -2 inch pieces

10 thin (1/16 inch) slices galangal (ginger garlic root) or fresh ginger root

6 joined pairs of makrut (kaffir) lime leaves

3/4 cup carrots, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

3 organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 whole Thai chilies, one with a 1/4 inch slit

3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (about 10 – 12 large) white or crimini or your choice

3/4 cup green beans, 1/2 in pieces

4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (2 – 3 limes)

2 Tablespoons fish sauce (for example, Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce)

1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar or brown sugar

For garnish, 1/2 cup cilantro or watercress, roughly chopped

For garnish, additional Thai red chilies, split for those who like it spicier

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – In a large heavy pan, heat coconut oil until shimmering, then add onions and salt, stirring and sautéing for a minute or two to soften.

2 – Add coconut cream (or milk) and stock, lemon grass, galangal or ginger root, lime leaves, and carrots. Bring to just a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3 – Add chicken and chilies. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat again, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

4 – Add mushrooms and green beans. Simmer, uncovered, for another 2 minutes.

5 – Remove pan from heat. Add lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar, stirring to mix well and melt sugar.

6 – Remove pieces of lemon grass and galangal/ginger, Thai chilies and lime leaves.

7 – Serve soup immediately, garnishing with cilantro or watercress. Advise diners not to eat any lemon grass, galangal/ginger, Thai chilies, or lime leaves you may have missed.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Sugar Pumpkin
Sugar Pumpkin


For 6 – 8 servings

1 sugar pumpkin (or butternut squash), rinsed, dried, cut in quarters, de-seeded, and de-stringed (probably not a dictionary word but you get the picture – cleaned out!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Juice of 2 Valencia orange (about 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons Earth Balance spread or olive oil

1 large onion, small dice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup organic carrots, small dice

1 cup organic celery, small dice

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated (about 1 inch of the root)

1 cup cooked sweet potatoes, if available. If not, you can use less stock for a thicker soup

1 pinch to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pinch to 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

24 to 32 oz organic vegetable broth (depending on how thick you want the soup, if you have cooked sweet potatoes, etc.)

For garnish – chopped cilantro

Preparation (Chef's hat)


1 – Preheat over to 400˚.

2 – Sprinkle salt on pumpkin (squash) pieces, then place cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast until a paring knife inserts easily through the skin, about 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

2 – Scrape pumpkin (squash) flesh from the skin into a food processor, along with the orange juice. Pulse until smooth — about 15 or 20 seconds.

3 – In a heavy saucepan, heat the spread or oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and salt, stir around and cook a couple of minutes until onions are softened and translucent.

4 – Add carrots and celery, stir and cook for 5 – 10 minutes , until they are softened.

5 – Add ginger, a pinch of cayenne and white pepper, giving it all a good stir to coat vegetables.

6 – Add half the broth. Turn off heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then,  with a stick blender (or in the bowl of a blender), purée the vegetables until smooth. Turn heat back on to medium high.

7 – Add remaining vegetable broth, cooked sweet potatoes, and pumpkin purée. Stir well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste — add more cayenne, white pepper, or salt, as needed. Serve in shallow soup bowls, sprinkled with cilantro.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com

©2015 Barbara Newton-Holmes

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Simply Orange Carrot Soup

Simply Orange Carrot Soup with Salad
Simply Orange Carrot Soup with Salad


6 – 8 servings

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup sweet onion, small dice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup celery, small dice

3 cups carrots, 1/2 inch chunks

2 cups organic vegetable or chicken stock

1 /2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

A few grinds of black pepper

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – Heat the olive oil in heavy-based kettle on medium high heat until shimmering.

2 – Add onions and salt, stirring and cooking 2 – 3 minutes or until softened.

3 – Add celery and carrots, stirring to mix well.

4 – Stir in stock, orange juice, and Triple Sec. Bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables cut easily with a spoon.

5 – Remove from heat. Using a stick blender (or heat-proof bowl blender), puree until smooth. Add additional stock, if too thick.

6 – Stir in red pepper flakes and basil. Taste. Adjust seasonings, if required. Serve hot.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Fresh Tomato Soup

4 – 6 servings. You could use canned whole tomatoes here to save time and fuss (steps 1 – 3), but then it wouldn’t be “Fresh” Tomato Soup, would it? Fresh brings a different flavor profile.

Onion icon smallIngredients

10 organic Roma tomatoes, ripe and fragrant

1 teaspoon salt (for tomatoes)

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons agave syrup

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large bay leaf

1 cup sweet onion, small dice

1 teaspoon salt

1 pinch, up to 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, de-stemmed

1/2 cup organic celery, small dice

1/2 cup organic carrots, small dice

2 cups organic vegetable broth

1 cup original organic almond milk (unsweetened, no vanilla), or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 – 6 fresh basil leaves, stacked and rolled lengthwise into a cigar, then finely sliced across the cigar for long tendrils, as garnish.

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

1 – Rinse the tomatoes. Cut out stem core. Then, on the other end of each tomato, cut an X through the skin, about 1/2 inch long for each diagonal. Put all the tomatoes in a large, deep bowl.

2 – Boil up enough water (probably about 6 or 7 cups) to pour over and submerge all the tomatoes. Let stand for 2 minutes, then pour off the hot water. Let the tomatoes stand 5 minutes or more to cool them enough to handle.

3 – Using a paring knife, and starting with the slit skin end, peel off the skin (which comes off very easily now). Cut each tomato into quarters. Using your fingers, scoop out the seeds and discard them, but keep the fleshy form. That’s your fresh tomato. OK, now — all the rest is simple.

4 – Cut the tomatoes into 1/4 cubes. Add salt, dried basil, and agave syrup. Mix well.  Set aside for a few minutes.

5 – Heat the olive oil in a heavy kettle on medium, them add the onion, bay leaf, and salt. Sauté until onions soften and become translucent, about 1 – 2  minutes.

6 – Add the garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and the fresh thyme. Add the celery and carrots. Stir around to coat, cover, and cook for 3 minutes..

7 – Add the seasoned tomatoes. Mix well with the other vegetables. Add vegetable stock. Bring up to a boil, then cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

8 – Remove the bay leaf.

9 – Purée soup in a large blender (or with a stick blender) for 20 to 30 seconds, or until smooth, but still with texter.

10 – Return to kettle, on medium heat. Add almond milk. Taste. Add, as needed, more salt, red pepper flakes, agave syrup, and almond milk. Heat for a few minutes, then serve, garnished with black pepper and fresh basil.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Red, Yellow, Green Chicken (or not) Soup

8 – 10 Servings.

This is made most easily from chicken cooked at the same time as that for Spicy Chicken Salad. Or, since it has lots of flavorful vegetables and not much chicken anyway, you can leave out the chicken, add the spice on its own, and use vegetable stock for a vegan version.

Onion icon smallIngredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups onion, small dice

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 – 2 teaspoons salt, to taste

1 cup organic celery

1 1/2 cups organic rainbow (or orange) carrots, 1/4 inch slices

1 1/2 cup parsnips, small dice

1 cup red bell pepper, small dice

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup yellow and red organic grape tomatoes, sliced in half diagonally

1 cup cooked Spicy BBQ Chicken Breast OR 1 teaspoon Barbara’s Spicy Rub or 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1-14.5 oz can organic diced tomatoes

6 cups organic chicken or vegetable stock

8 grinds of fresh black pepper

1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed and stemmed

3 Tablespoons fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

1 – In a large heavy kettle, heat olive oil over medium high until shimmering, then add onions, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Cook 2- 3 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent.

2 – Add celery, carrots, and parsnips, stir and cover, cooking for 3 minutes.

3 – Add red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, basil, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook – uncovered  – for 2 more minutes.

4 – Add the diced canned tomatoes and chicken or vegetable stock. Stir well. Bring to a mild boil.

5 – Add chicken (or spice), spinach, oregano, black pepper. Stir, cover, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for 12 minutes or until root vegetables are softened (but not mushy) and flavors developed.

6 – Taste. Adjust salt, pepper, red pepper, spice.

7 – Serve hot in bowls, with parsley garnish.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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