VEGETARIAN TORTILLA SOUP

2014-09-09 16.56.18

 

2014-09-09 16.48.35

2014-09-09 16.55.39

 

VIBES: JHENE AIKO “WADING

I wanted to create a vegetarian version of this classic. This soup manages to be warm and fresh all at once. Perfect for this transitional time between seasons when its starting to get a bit cooler outside, but there is still an abundance of summer vegetables at the market. Because its a vegetarian soup, I added a lot of spices. Don’t skimp on the spices. Add them in the beginning, with the onions and garlic to release the most flavor. The dried ancho chile adds depth and that signature smoky flavor in tortilla soup. Also, toppings are super important here. At the very least you MUST have avocado and tortillas. The chopped cilantro and lime add a bit of freshness and the cheese is totally optional.

VEGETARIAN TORTILLA SOUP

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

handful of chopped cilantro

1 large fresh tomato, diced

5 cups vegetable broth

1 dried ancho chile, soaked in hot water and then chopped finely

1 cup black beans (either canned, or dried but cooked)

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

TOPPINGS

2 corn tortillas sliced into thin strips

1 avocado, diced

handful of cilantro chopped

dash of cotija cheese or queso fresco (omit this to keep recipe completely vegan)

squeeze of fresh lime juice

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped green and red peppers, sauté for another 2-3 minutes and add spices. Mix until combined, add chopped ancho chile, also adding any extra liquid that has collected in the chile from soaking. Add tomatoes and a bit of chopped cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until flavor has developed and vegetables have softened- about 45 mins-1 hour on a low simmer. Taste and add/adjust spices. Add black beans and frozen corn and cook for another 10-15 mins.

Meanwhile prepare your toppings. Slice tortillas into strips and place on baking sheet. Heat broiler to high, broil tortilla strips until crispy about 5-10 mins. Remove from broiler and set aside. Slice avocado. Chop cilantro.

Spoon soup into bowls and top with the tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro and (optional cotija cheese.) Squeeze a lime over the soup and serve!

GROWN UP GRILLED CHEESE

VIBES: THE XX: ANGELS

Grilled cheese is one of the greatest gifts. Outside of Raekwon and Pizza, its up there with my favorite things. Hook it up with GOOD bread, GOOD cheese,  FRESH tomatoes and a balsamic reduction and you just went to a whole new place. Easy.

GROWN UP GRILLED CHEESE
-Ciabatta bread, sliced in half
-Irish Cheddar, thinly sliced (I used Dubliner)
-Two slices red tomato
-Two slices yellow tomato
-1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
-cracked pepper to taste



Toast bread in a toaster until golden. Transfer to baking sheet and layer cheese, then tomatoes, then pepper. Place under broiler high heat. Broil for about 5-6 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Meanwhile make balsamic reduction on the stovetop. Add 1/4 cup of balsamic to a saucepan on medium high heat. When it begins to bubble, swirl constantly for about 3 minutes or until the liquid has thickened and reduced to half. It should be a syrupy consistency. Remove grilled cheese from oven and drizzle balsamic on top. Serve immediately!