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Cold soup makes refreshing starter

Wed., July 24, 2013, midnight

The new cookbook from Better Homes and Gardens is a nice addition for cooks who are attuned to seasonal eating.

“Fresh: Recipes for Enjoying Ingredients at Their Peak,” has beautiful color photos that may inspire you to bring a few new foods to the table. Here is a recipe from the book for a seasonal, cold soup:

Quinoa-Nectarine Gazpacho with Crispy-Spice Tortilla Strips

From “Fresh: Recipes for Enjoying Ingredients at Their Peak,” by the editors of Better Homes and Gardens

“This cold soup is an amazing blend of textures and flavors. It is sweet from the nectarines, a little bit spicy from the jalapeño, creamy from the avocado and crunchy from crisp cucumbers. It makes a light and fresh first course for a summer barbecue.

1/2 cup quinoa

2/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups coarsely chopped nectarines or peeled peaches (about 4 medium)

1 small ripe avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cucumber (see note)

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped red onion or green onion

2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint and/or cilantro

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped (see note)

1 12-ounce bottle ginger beer

1 cup pineapple juice

Mexican crema or sour cream (optional)

1 recipe Crispy-Spice Tortilla Strips (recipe follows)

In a colander, rinse quinoa well; drain. In a small saucepan bring the water and salt to boiling. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and discard any excess water; set quinoa aside to cool.

Place nectarines in a large bowl. If desired, mash some of the pieces slightly with a potato masher. Gently stir in cooled quinoa, avocado, cucumber, lime juice, onion, mint and/or cilantro and jalapeno. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 6 hours.

To serve, stir ginger beer and pineapple juice into nectarine mixture. Ladle into bowls. If desired, top with crema. Garnish with Crispy-Spice Tortilla Strips.

Crispy-Spice Tortilla Strips: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Brush three 7- to 8-inch flour tortillas with the oil mixture. Sprinkle tortillas with salt. Roll up each tortilla and slice crosswise into long thin strips. If desired, cut strips in half. Spread strips on a baking sheet. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Use immediately or store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes: If desired, peel cucumber before chopping.

Hot chili peppers such as jalapeños contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes. Avoid contact with chilies as much as possible. When working with chili peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the chili peppers, wash your hands well with soap and water.

Yield: 8 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 168 calories, 5 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 4 grams dietary fiber, 241 milligrams sodium.


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