Monday, May 18, 2009


I realize that I haven't posted in forever, but I try to think that I haven't lost all my readers: I've instead gained a great deal of privacy. This could come in handy. In just under two weeks, there's a fundraiser for the music program at church, and I'm doing substantially all of the food preparation. (People offered to help, but asking people to make specific things would require a level of organization that I just don't have. A few people will show up on the afternoon of the fundraiser to help assemble things, and a bunch of other people will carry trays around.) So I can put my recipes here, for my own reference, and when attendees ask me for any of my recipes, I can say, "Oh, I just found it online. I can't remember exactly where." And this will have elements of truth (while being, in substance, a complete lie, which makes it even better) since each recipe is stored in its own post, and I certainly don't memorize the URLs for individual posts. I will, of course, be happy to give any of my recipes to anyone who makes a suitable donation to the music fund. Yeah, I know, but it's for a good cause.

Anyway, the hoped-for scale of the evening combined with my personal desire to serve a large variety of nibbles, means that I need to prepare things that can be fully or nearly completed either well in advance (and preferably frozen) or with relatively little effort. (It also means that at some point I have to become organized, because I'm also singing, and frazzled is really not a good mood in which to perform "La Vie en Rose." Mme. Piaf certainly had more than her share of troubles, but she appears to have been at one of her high points when she wrote the lyrics, and, in any case, one doubts that she was ever frazzled.) This chilled tomato soup meets both criteria. It can certainly be prepared several (probably many, but why push it?) days in advance and left in the refrigerator, and it's a snap. That's because its main ingredient is a bottle of V8. Sue me.

My doctor has recently encouraged me to limit my sodium intake, so I used a bottle of low sodium V8 for the test batch, which is now in my refrigerator, and which I am working my way through eight or so ounces at a time. And it's good, but it needs salt, so I'll probably use regular V8 when I prepare the final batch. Or perhaps I'll use one bottle of each, since I'll probably need a double batch. Also, the amount of horseradish in the recipe is the amount I think would likely be good. I thought I had horseradish in the refrigerator, but when I got home, the bottle was very nearly empty, so I only got a little less than a teaspoon, and the soup definitely needs more. You can adjust to taste, of course.

Also, dill isn't the only way to go here. If I find some nice basil next week, I might finish the soup with that. Cilantro would also be good. The dried dill works pretty well, but fresh would probably be a better idea. I used nonfat Greek style yogurt because there's already going to be a lot of very heavy food at the fundraiser, so I thought something light would be a wise choice. But either whole milk yogurt or sour cream would also be yummy.

I haven't worked the recipe out yet, but I'm going to serve small amounts of the soup in tiny cups and make some sort of cheddar cheese straws/wafers as a companion piece. That way it'll be sort of like communion. (The addition of the onions and, especially, the yogurt make the color not quite right, but the room will be dark, probably.) I may not make the communion inspiration explicit to the guests: most Unitarian Universalists are as fond of sacrilege as I am, but there are some who wouldn't appreciate me telling them to take a body-of-Christ-cheddar-cheese wafer and follow it with a blood-of-Christ shot of tomato soup. Chacun a son gout, I reckon.

Chilled Tomato Soup

2 T. butter
1 c. chopped sweet onion
1 T. flour
A 64-ounce bottle of V-8
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T. prepared horseradish
1 c. Greek style yogurt (nonfat or whole milk, as you prefer)
1 T. dried dill

Melt the butter in the bottom of a large saucepan. Add the onion, cover, and cook until very lightly browned. Add the flour, stir well, and cook for another three to five minutes.

Add 2 cups of the V-8 and the ground pepper (to taste). Bring to a boil, then simmer for three or four minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool to a temperature that your blender can handle (or use an immersion blender if your mother didn't break yours). Add the horseradish, blend until smooth, then return to the pot. Add the remainder of the V-8, whisk in the yogurt until smooth, and stir in the dill. Adjust the seasoning. Chill thoroughly.

Since cold soups typically require more seasoning than soups to be served hot, it's a good idea to put a teacup or small soup bowl in the freezer when you start cooking. Then when you've added the cool and cold ingredients, you can put a small amount of the soup in the cold teacup, put the whole thing back in the freezer, and taste it five minutes later to get an idea of how it's going to taste when it's served.


Blogger MzOuiser said...

You haven't lost us. :)

7:43 AM  
Blogger Bee said...

From fruitcake (winter) to chilled tomato soup (summer) . . . what did you eat in spring?

1:05 PM  
Anonymous less kitchen stuff - easier cooking said...

I'm definitely in favor of anything containing a lot of tomato and also butter, wherever it came from!!! I love your attitude :)

8:48 PM  

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