A few years ago a friend gave me a recipe from a famous French restaurant for a robust tomato soup, and it's the best I've ever had.
Squash and basil are both warm season vegetables that you can plant in your vegetable garden after the last frost date in spring. One squash plant and one basil will provide enough ingredients for this chilled soup from the kitchen of Ashley’s Restaurant at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Plant squash in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Summer squash prefers nutrient rich, well-drained soil. Prepare the ground for squash by mixing in a 3-inch layer of compost along with a timed-release or organic fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label. Set 3 transplants in hills spaced at least 30 inches apart. A light mulch is sufficient.
Squash bears both male and female flowers. The female flowers are easy to identify by looking for a tiny squash below the blossoms. Male flowers are borne atop a bare stem. To help female flowers develop into squash, bees and other small insects pay numerous visits, leaving behind trails of pollen brought from male blossoms. Male flowers often drop to the ground at the end of their life; don’t be alarmed, as this is normal.
Basil loves hot weather. Set your plants out after the last frost date. Basil grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Mother Nature usually provides enough water for basil, but water deeply on a weekly basis during dry spells. Plants grown in containers dry out faster so water them more frequently. Avoid splashing water on the leaves.
Basil is not a heavy feeder. Apply fish emulsion or a 05-10-05 liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once during the growing season.
The more you harvest, the more the plant will produce. You can start clipping basil leaves as soon as the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. Pinch or snip the leaves as needed. Remove the lowest leaves first. Do not cut the entire plant back during the growing season; it will not re-sprout.
Try this recipe for a refreshing soup that uses some of the best flavors of summer.
Gazpacho is a wonderful way to prepare some of our favorite summer vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and red peppers. It is a cold soup with a history that stretches back to old world Spain. Traditionally it was made from a paste of bread, olive oil, garlic and vinegar. Tomatoes and peppers were added to the recipe after they were introduced from the New World.
I love the garden fresh flavor of this soup and the fact that I can easily grow many of the ingredients. Several of my friends have mentioned that gazpacho is too much like eating salsa with a spoon, which is a reason that I like this recipe. It is more of a vegetable broth than the chunky soup I have often encountered.
Serve this soup cold with a nice thick slice of crusty peasant bread. It truly is the taste of summer in a bowl.
This soup recipe combines to sweet flavor of carrot juice with savory leeks, tangy orange juice and spicy ginger.
I love this soup recipe because it is so easy to prepare and delicious. It is a cold soup and I know a lot of people are hesitant to try these. But the flavor is outstanding, savory and tangy at the same time.
It is an excellent choice as a first course for a brunch or a light lunch.
Chef Matthew McClure of Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas shared this recipe that is prepared with a few of spring’s most flavorful vegetables. Radishes, leeks and shallots create a spicy soup that is balanced out with honey and a savory garnish of country ham. It’s incredibly simple to prepare and can be served either warm or chilled.
Chef John Mooney of Bell Book and Candle in Manhattan grows his ingredients in a rooftop hydroponic garden. His menu is based on what is available, which is asparagus in spring. On a trip to New York I taped with John for my show and he shared this pureed soup. As John says good asparagus soup comes from good asparagus so use fresh, tender spears when you prepare this.
If you live in an area with long, hot summers, okra is a must. The plants are easy to grow and the more you pick, the more you get. Gumbo is a classic dish for preparing okra, but sometimes I don’t want to have to mess with a roux – that mix of fat and flour used to thicken sauces & soups. If you’ve ever tried to make one, you know how easy it is to burn. That’s why I like this gumbo inspired stew. It has all the flavor without the trouble of making the roux.
I love lentils because they are a great source of protein. This rustic soup is so easy to make. It’s wonderful because you can throw it together quickly for not much money and it makes a lot so you can feed a houseful. You can be creative with this basic recipe; add beef tips or chicken if you want. I used vegetable stock here, but beef or chicken stock is delicious too.