2007-08-09 13:02:22.0 Russ Parsons: Hi everybody! What's new? What are you seeing at Farmers Markets? Cooked anything good lately?
william kraal: do you have a easy recipe for leek soup please??
Russ Parsons: Sure, well, pretty easy. Cold leek and potato soup, vichysoisse, is a great summer dish. Essentially, you stew the leeks in butter, add sliced potatoes (I like to use russetts for this), poach them in milk, then puree them. Chill and then add a little heavy cream just before serving.
Administrator2: What are some other good, easy-ish summer soups? Be nice, I'm a beginner!
Russ Parsons: There's nothing easier (and nothing better) than gazpacho. I like to make it the Spanish way, where it comes out lightly creamy rather than as a bunch of chopped ingredients. Soak a slice of sourdough bread in water. Puree peeled, seeded tomatoes, then add the bread and puree that. Add a little vinegar and just enough water to thin it to the texture you want. You can add chopped peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., as a garnish.
Administrator2: Thanks! I'll try that!
roz collier: What kind of olive oil would you recommend for salads or cooking. Is there a difference? I am having a hard time find the correct product to use especially for salads.
Russ Parsons: Well, the subject of olive oils can get pretty deep. Basically, I have one oil that I use for cooking (usually the Santini from Trader Joe's ... it's a good product at a good price). Then I usually have 3 or 4 other oils that I use for salads/crostini/garnishing dishes,etc. I like to have one that's fairly peppery--Spanish, Greek or Tuscan. I like to have one that's a little sweeter--Ligurian or something like that. And I like to have one French olive oil, they're much flowerier and smoother than the rest.
william kraal: thanks russ im gonna try that leek soup tonite
Administrator2: What have you been cooking this week?
Russ Parsons: I've been working on recipes for next week's story: On long-cooked vegetables. So peppers that have been stewed and then finished with a little good aceto balsamico, roasted tomatoes, zucchini stewed with lemon and mint, stuff like that. These should be cooked to the point that they're almost falling apart, then served cool. They're absolutely terrific with rose.
roz collier: Thanks for the help with the oil. I am just learning to use this chat room. Roz Collier
Russ Parsons: Hey, me too Roz! it's an interesting experiment and a great way to communicate with readers.
yumyum: wow! next week's story sounds great!
yumyum: Hi Russ, do you have any great ideas for tomatillos other than salsa?
Russ Parsons: Well, there's always chile verde. Ruth Reichl used to make a great one--cubed pork, chopped tomatillos and beer all stewed together (there were some other things as well).
yumyum: I have a lot of tomatillos to use- that sounds wonderful - thanks!
Russ Parsons: How do you use them? I took some classes from Rick Bayless and he had really interesting salsa techniques--he scorched the tomatillos, garlic, chiles on a comal, then pureed them, then "fried" the salsa in hot oil. that was really good.
yumyum: I have a very similar salsa recipe that uses 1 tomatillo to each tomato. It is really tasty!
Chat with California Cook columnist Russ Parsons
Transcript: The Times' Russ Parsons took readers' questions in a live chat Thursday, August 9.
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