Newsletter: In the Kitchen: Chilling out with soup

Spicy gazpacho shooter with goat cheese cream: This summery cold soup helps beat the heat.
(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

When the temperature is in the triple digits and the sun feels like it’s going to sear your skull, sometimes all you want to eat is a bowl of soup. Right? Well, if it’s a chilled gazpacho, yeah. We’ve got two very different alternatives for you to try this week.

In the news: Amazon is getting into the food business in a big way, with a couple of ambitious rollouts; why that Consumer Reports ground beef story wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be; the perennial question of salting or not salting eggplant; and bacon-wrapped pork belly.  Because, well, bacon-wrapped pork belly.

Looking for something fun and delicious to do over Labor Day weekend? Join me at the Los Angeles Times' The Taste at Paramount Pictures Studios, where I'll be hosting "Field to Fork" on Saturday. For more information, please click here.

— Russ Parsons


Cold soup for hot days

If you still think of gazpacho as that tomatoey, salad-like combination of summer vegetables, we’ve got two very different recipes that will surely change your mind. In one, ripe tomatoes are pureed with bread and olive oil to make a creamy, intensely flavored soup so sharp it must be sipped. The other from wine writer S. Irene Virbila has no tomatoes at all — it’s based on the original gazpacho and is made with almonds and olive oil and garnished with green grapes. Try them both.

Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Amazon makes big pushes

Amazon seems to deliver almost everything you could ever imagine wanting. And now it’s branching out into things you might never have imagined it carrying. In Southern California, the company is introducing farmers market produce delivered straight to your door within 36 hours of being harvested and in Seattle … booze (!) ... delivered within an hour of your order.

Is ground beef dangerous?

Did you see all those tweets last week about Consumer Reports finding poop in ground beef? The article argued that buying sustainable beef is safer than conventional — albeit at a much higher price. But a close reading of the background report finds a somewhat different story.

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Breakfast of champions

Who can resist bacon-wrapped pork belly? It will take a stronger man than me. Check out Shauna Ahern’s recipe from her new book, “Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.” 

Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Do you salt your eggplant?

To salt eggplant or not to salt? That’s a question that comes up about this time every year, when the markets (and grills, frying pans and casseroles) are full of the beautiful fruit. We got to the bottom of it — short answer: salt for frying but not for anything else.

Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times


What w’re reading

Why do some people persist in clinging to beliefs even when the best science argues against them? The New York Times’ George Johnson has a thoughtful essay.

What does it take to make the perfect porchetta? Felicity Cloake from Britain’s the Guardian newspaper did a deep dive, cooking half a dozen different recipes. Fun reading.

Check out the thousands of recipes on our Recipe Database


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