The first recipe from Dinner Club I want to share with you is this beautiful, colourful, and savoury chilled soup. I had my doubts about this one, I'll admit, because if I could pick a single vegetable I like the least, it's celery. I was immediately put off of this soup because of its addition, but later coaxed into trying it once I realized it was just the leaves that were needed.
Passing the seeds of 5 pounds of tomoatoes through a sieve was definitely a labour of love, but completely worth it in the end! Because this soup never gets to feel the heat of a pot, the flavours of the herbs were so fragrant and fresh. I would absolutely recommend trying this recipe out before the fall, and if you want to try something that's still savoury but different from the classic gazpacho.
Chilled Tomato Soup with Goat-Milk Yogurt
5 pounds yellow or orange tomatoes, cored
6 medium scallions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup parsley leaves, plus a small handful for garnish
1/2 cup celery or lovage leaves, plus a small handful for garnish
2 tablespoons of tarragon leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 cups goat-milk yogurt
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, for garnish
1. Set a coarse sieve over a bowl. Halve the tomatoes crosswise and squeeze the seeds and juice into the bowl and discard the seeds.
2. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and transfer to a blender. Add the strained tomato liquid, the scallions, the 1/2 cup each of parsley and celery leaves, the tarragon, lime juice, honey, yogurt and cold water and puree (in batches, if necessary). With the machine on, gradually pour in the olive oil and blend until incorporated. Season the soup with salt and white pepper and refrigerate until chilled. Ladle into small bowls. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and parsley and celery leaves and serve.
Total Time: 40 minutes plus chilling. Serves 10.
1. I had a small sieve, so I really had to work at getting the liquid out. Much of the liquid sat on top of the piles of seeds underneath, so I spent a solid 10-15 minutes spreading and pushing the seeds and tomato guts around so as to not waste that gorgeous tomato juice.
3. I added a little more tarragon and a little less celery leaf. Just because.
4. This makes a lot of soup, so even in two batches, my blender was dangerously full to the brim. I split the chopped tomatoes and juice evenly between the blender and another bowl, then split the rest of ingredients as evenly as possible between the two batches. I didn't worry too much about the evenness, however, because it was all going to be mixed together eventually anyway.
5. I used multi-coloured cherry tomatoes and coarse black pepper for garnish, because they're just prettier.
|My massacred tomatoes: cored, halved, squeezed, seedless.|
|Messy plating, but still love that colour!|
Do you think this would work as a hot soup, too? Rather than blending the tomatoes, maybe I could reduce them in a pan and then add the fresh ingredients towards the end? Any suggestions?
It was an awesome challenge: one that made me feel equal parts nervous and excited.
After settling on a date for the meal, I got to work. I absolutely loved both researching and testing recipes over the past month and in the lead up to the big night. The menu changed almost daily, right up until the week before, when we finally had a solid plan in place. Even then, my first course (the recipe, not the concept) changed about four times that week, and again the day before the dinner. I admittedly got a little frustrated at one point, when so many of the chilled soup recipes we tested fell flat, one after the other. Too sweet, too boring, too bitter. None were the right fit! The recipe I eventually used on Saturday went untested, however, and it was by far the best.
While my completed cheesecake was in the oven, I mixed up the madeleine batter. While that was refrigerating, I started on my chilled tomato soup. While that was refrigerating, my cheesecake was cooling in the oven and then on the counter. Go go go go go! By the time the cheesecake finally made it into the fridge, F. was home from work with lunch. This dinner party amateur really surprised herself! My timing was spot on.
With several hours ahead of us, F. and I prepared the honeydew melon that was to serve as a palate cleanser later on. With still more time on my hands, I threw a split-decision Zucchini-Walnut-Yogurt loaf in the oven to accompany the madeleines and mimosas that were to kick off the evening. I think it's safe to say I have officially conquered my fear of the oven.
It was game time: F. was off to pick up our dinner guests. I got the madeleines in the oven and began preparing bacon cups for the main course.
While everyone arrived, caught up, gave happy announcements, drank mimosas, and snacked on breakfast cakes, F. and I got working on the macaroni and cheese. While that baked, we began our meal, at long last.
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is our Dinner Club round up! I feel like I say this a lot, but please excuse the composition of some of these photos; it was hard to take too much time out of the meal or preparation to try and get my personal best!
Over the next few days, I'll post some of the recipes from our dinner, along with our adaptations and tips, so keep checking back if any of these photos spark your interest!
|Slightly overdone Honey Vanilla Madeleines (thought guests claimed to like the crispy edges!), Zucchini-Walnut-Yogurt Loaf, and fresh berries.|
|Mimosas with Sparkling Rosé, which added a dreamy, pink hue to the liquid surrounding the strawberry!|
|Chilled Orange Tomato, Tarragon and Yogurt Soup.|
|Crushed Honeydew Melon, Mint, and Sparkling Rosé.|
|Homemade Macaroni & Cheese and Bacon Cups with Sriracha. It's hard to make this pretty, let alone photograph it, but this plate was brimming with flavour and was a lot of fun to eat!|
|The Lemon Cheesecake with Berries makes a second appearance!|
What do you think? What might you have added or done differently? What are your favourite 'breakfast for dinner' dishes?