Summer Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup

Here’s a soup so tangy and packed with flavor, I refused to share it with anyone… not even MG. In fact, I went out of my way to call him up after I polished off my first bowl to say, “I made an amazing soup tonight… and guess what? You’re not getting any of it!” I guess that’s a little bit of the “baby brother” coming out of me. I am the youngest of four, after all.

Or it could just be that I’m a jerk.

But guess what? I don’t care. This soup really is that good. Let this soup bring out the snotty selfish possessive brat in you.

And luckily, it’s as incredibly easy to make as it is powerfully delicious, so I suggest doubling the recipe below and making two batches, labeling one “Yours,” and the other one “NOT YOURS.” Then invite over loved ones to feast on it.

Not only was it a quick prep, but the ingredient list is also amazingly simple. The only ingredient I didn’t already have in my kitchen was the goat cheese which is a nice finishing touch, but isn’t even necessary to make this baby sing.

Serve it cold in the warm months, and heat it up the night you trim the Christmas tree.

And no, a grilled mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich wouldn’t hurt the situation either, in case you might have been concerned about that.

Summer Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup from Epicurious

  • 2 1/4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 1/3 cups finely chopped tomatoes (about 11 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (generous) finely chopped roasted red bell peppers from jar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • Generous dash of hot pepper sauce
  • Fine sea salt
  • 4 1/3-inch-thick rounds soft fresh goat cheese
  • 6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • Additional extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend. Season soup to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors blend, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Top each with 1 goat cheese round and 3 grape tomato halves. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and basil. Drizzle with oil and serve.

Chilled Cucumber Soup

In honor of the Winter Olympics (Wayne Gretzky waiting for those columns to rise… oh my, the nerves… he looked like someone tied his hands behind his back and dropped a snake down his pants) and in defiance of my complete disdain for all things soup, I present this cold creamy tangy triumph!

Yes, I hate soup. It has always been, as far as I’m concerned, a waste of a good mealtime. And yes, in the face of this, there’s always some die-hard broth-head who has had some kind of crazy soup in their past they swear will convert me. “Oh!” they exclaim, “you’d love a potato leak chowder with sliced almonds and an essence of baby’s breath!” No I wouldn’t.

“Oh!” they ask, “have you ever had a hearty tomato lentil soup with grated salmon tail?” No, I haven’t.

“Oh!” they implore, “you simply must try my Aunt Annie’s plomeek soup with candied celery ribs and vulcan meat.” No, I mustn’t.

Frankly, I’d rather go see that movie that came out last year about the killer orphan who was actually – spoiler alert – a grown woman with hooker dwarf syndrome. – than eat soup as a whole meal. In fact I’d rather have hooker dwarf syndrome than eat soup as a whole meal.  Maybe a little tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich when I’m sick with a cold, but THAT IS IT!

So why exactly did I decide to make chilled cucumber soup?  It isn’t really in honor of the Winter Olympics, though I’m told we are doing quite well.  And it wasn’t because I was trying to wow MG because he was at home making puppets.  And I don’t have any British people coming to visit.  I guess the only reason I decided to make it was because the picture in the Gordon Ramsay book looked sophisticated and impressive, and I was feeling some sort of inadequacy I needed to overcome, and English cucumbers are cheaper than Paxil.

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