Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I know. I’m bringing up Michael Pollan again. Sorry. But he did just write a long piece in the New York Times Magazine about why America likes cooking shows but doesn’t actually cook. This is all brought on by the Julie & Julia marketing onslaught that at first reminded me that I’m intrigued by Julia Child, (I acted on this- frustratingly asking the bookstore clerk if they had any copies of “My Life In France,” without the movie cover. No. Forget that then.) And now as the Julie & Julia attack drums on in every media outlet known to man I find myself, sadly, sick of Julia Child before I could even decide for myself whether she uses too much butter.

What am I talking about? Right. Pollan. Pollan poses the question, After having gross corporations cook for us, and by cooking, I mean pumping processed stuff up with butter and salt and sugar can we go back?

“Can we ever put the genie back into the bottle? Once it has been destroyed, can a culture of everyday cooking be rebuilt? One in which men share equally in the work? One in which the cooking shows on television once again teach people how to cook from scratch and, as Julia Child once did, actually empower them to do it?”

Sure can, Michael…

I had to run a few errands in different directions around the Lower East Side for this soup. I forgot a red onion at the grocery store and stopped at a corner bodega. I asked the Arab man if I could open a bag of six red onions because the single onion looked bad- he raised an eyebrow then went, Sure, sure. I had to get white wine off Ludlow and then realized I forgot to get bread on Clinton street where they make sandwiches but Amal discovered the bread itself is good. “Just three loaves.” The Italian guy looks at me, “Just bread?” Yes, please.

I cleaned dirt off basil in the sink and Alayna chopped onions and we drank white wine and talked about going to Colombia for a bit.

These are the things we eat here at Monday’s Soups. Interactions and conversations and good salt and chili pepper tea. And it’s all very tasty.

We can put the genie back in the bottle by... and I don't mean to tap into our tag-line... not being afraid of cooking. Alayna has been cooking long before me. She'd make me big dinners in France and I would happily eat it all and that's where our friendship started. But for me, making soup was the real start of my tender and caring relationship with Cooking. Soup is a good starting point. You put real foods together and play around and 99% of the time it'll taste good. Even when you don't have some ingreidents. Even when you throw in something random from the fridge.

So I would answer Micheal Pollan with a Yes, we can go back. And a good start is by not being afriad of soup.

Now go make your Gazpacho my empowered Soupies!

P.S. We had a friend guest soupie, Keith, yogi and potter. We talked about art and books instead of watching terrible television. For that Keith we thank you, come back soon. And can I get a free yoga class?

  • fill a medium sized sauce pot halfway with water and bring to a boil
  • turn the pot off and add two dried chiles anchos, chopped and seeds/stems removed and two chiles arboles (same)... let this steep until the water has cooled (you're making chile tea!)
  • before it cools, add vegetarian broth powder (or just use veg broth instead of water) until salty
  • chop about 8-10 very fresh vine ripened tomatoes, one large cucumber (deseeded), a large cucumber, a small red onion, 8 cloves of garlic and a large handful of fresh basil into smallish pieces and set aside

  • pour about 1-2 cups of your cooled down 'chile tea' into the blender and add as many chopped veggies as you can fit, disposing into your large soup bowl
  • Repeat until done, watching to make sure it doesn't get too liquidy or too solid
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • let sit for AT LEAST an hour (it's better the longer it sits)
  • serve with sliced avocado and fresh goat cheese on top!


  1. Mmmmm, nothing says summer like gazpacho... may I make a suggestion that I love to do with my gazpacho? I'm not a fan of completely pureed gazpacho (unless you're drinking it) so I also like to break up some bread into small pieces (i use my hands, you can use a knife if you want perfect cubes), toast it to make mini croutons to put in the gazpacho once it's done. other goodies to add to the finished product are also chopped hard-boiled egg, cucumber, onion, etc. ¡buen provecho!

  2. ooo, we were too lazy to toast the bread, but that sounds delicious!