Cookbook review by Tracey Zabar
This cookbook is full of great recipes for little dishes. Try this refreshing summer watermelon soup first. I expanded my recipe repertoire with a grilled vegetable and orzo salad with lemon and basil. There are lots of recipes using fresh ingredients, and tips and clever charts about cooking with grains and spices. Next on my list: stir-fried noodles with mushrooms, snow peas and bell peppers; and yummy-looking fig streusel bars.
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Recipe excerpted with permission from Vegan Cooking for Two by America's Test Kitchen
Chilled Watermelon Soup RECIPE
Why This Recipe Works
This soup takes heavy inspiration from the flavors of gazpacho, a chilled mixture of chopped vegetables marinated in seasoned vinegar. Cooling, light, and hydrating, it's the perfect refreshing dinner for a hot summer night and is just as appropriate for lunch the next day. Juicy watermelon is the undisputed star; a few sprigs of basil, some bell pepper, and a tomato work together to balance the melon's sweetness, keeping the soup's flavor firmly in savory territory. To meld all the flavors and give the soup its chill in record time, we turn to our trusty blender. Pureeing the ingredients results in a soup with rounded, well integrated flavor that comes together in minutes rather than the hours it would take if we were to simply chop the vegetables and stir them together. Another blending bonus: It allows us to incorporate a few handfuls of ice into the soup, chilling the gazpacho without a lengthy refrigeration. Serve with crusty bread or crackers.
Total Time 15 minutes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
½ cup ice (2 ounces)
2 cups 1-inch watermelon pieces
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, halved, stemmed, and seeded
1 tomato, cored
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ avocado, chopped
1. In order listed, add basil, ice, watermelon, bell pepper, tomato, pepper, salt, oil, and vinegar to blender and process on low speed until mixture is combined but still coarse in texture, about 10 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. Gradually increase speed to high and process until completely smooth, about 1 minute.
2. Adjust consistency with cold water as needed. Top individual portions with avocado and extra basil before serving. (Gazpacho can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours; stir to recombine before serving.)
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