I have two terrifying food memories: my mother's salmon mousse, which must have been made with 28 pounds of gelatin, and her vichyssoise, which was probably made correctly but was still a culinary abomination.
This sounds horrible, I know, but since I've also written about her tremendous gardening skills, I figure I'm at least somewhat absolved.
I can't even write about the salmon mousse without getting tremors, but I will tell you that that vichyssoise ruined me for cold soups for a very long time. Happily, circa 1992, I tasted my (future) mother-in-law's gazpacho, and that licked my wounds quite a bit. Last summer I even made a version with watermelon, which healed those wounds still further. And this year, Mark and Bruce's cold plum soup solidified my status as a veritable cold soup groupie. I'm thinking of starting my own society: the Cold Soup (Except Vichyssoise) Society, or CS(EV)S. I'd like to be president of something and this seems as good a calling as any. Plus, CS(EV)S really rolls off the tongue.
First order of business?
Recipe for Cold Spiced Tomato Soup
Last month, Amanda Hesser of the New York Times re-printed one of Barbara Kafka's recipes from 1991: Moroccan Tomato Soup. I made a modicum of changes and would therefore like to offer Ms. Kafka the bulk of the credit for my success. I think, however, leaving out the celery was a genius move on my part, so I'll retain any celery-omission kudos for myself. Note: You will need a food mill.
Makes 1 quart
5 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Pinch chipotle pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil
2-1/4 pounds ripe, summer tomatoes, cored, chunked
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon vinegar (choose your favorite flavor)
2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more, perhaps, to taste
Combine the minced garlic, paprika, cumin, chipotle, and olive oil in a small saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and stir constantly until moistened and very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set off heat to cool.
Push the tomatoes through a food mill. (See this one minute video for what kind of dishes to expect.) Stir in the remaining ingredients, including the cooked spice mixture. Refrigerate several hours, or until very, very cold. (I'd strongly suggest refrigerating it in a glass jar.)
And if you should forget about it and not eat it until 4 days later, it will be just as good. Probably better even, but who knows since you forgot to eat it on day 1.
[My thanks to Charmian for telling me about Summer Fest, a blogorama organized by Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, and Todd & Diane of White on Rice Couple. Go to Charmian's post today for her tomato salad recipe and Matt's, Jaden's, and Todd & Diane's blogs to link up to more tomato recipes than you could possibly imagine.]