Fifty word restaurant review: Aixois by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Fifty-word restaurant review of Aixois-Kansas City.

Perhaps not the best French cafeteria food you'll ever eat but likely the most expensive. Aixois commits the ultimate faux paux: neglecting the food. Everything about my meal here was pedestrian. Sadly, in a weird transference of power, the best option on the Aixois menu might be a burger with pommes frites.

roast pink: the breast cancer awareness soup by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

I've been thinking lately of how the Think Pink campaign of the Susan G. Komen Foundation has to be one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever conceived. It's also interesting to see how long it takes for brands to emerge, years typically. Think Pink has grown somewhat organically over the past 5 years and this year it just seems to have exploded into every available market. Pink is everywhere these days.

So when I was making one of my standard fall soups recently (roasted cauliflower) and went to finish it I remembered those roasted red peppers that were in the fridge. So into the blender went the roasted cauliflower, apples, onion, and red peppers which resulted in this dish. Garnished with ground roasted cashews seasoned with just a small amount of bacon bits.

signature dish by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

By now you've probably discovered that much of what your parents told you was wrong. Maybe they meant well, or didn't know any better, but rest assured, ignoring their advice, like that of the high school principal, was sometimes the right thing to do. Example: Playing with your food. Chef's who did not ignore this childhood advice staple are likely busy today running a fast food hot line. This may result in consistent product but it's better to eat playful, real food.

I recently learned of the poor person's sous vide from my pal Ebban (not his real name!) who, when not trying to corner the market on fresh water in the desert, is steeped in MacGyver re-runs. Apparently Hulu, unlike the rebels, can find it's way deep inside a fortified bunker outside of the Green Zone.

Sous vide
, for the uninitiated, is French for "under vacuum". Tony chef's have been spending thousands on complicated vacuum cooking apparati for several years but turns out you have everything you need in your pantry. And here's how to do it.

Instead of vacuum sealing the item to be cooked you place it in a zip-lock bag and remove as much of the air as possible. To cook the item you'll need a clean cooler and some hot water. The trick with sous vide is to maintain the cooking fire (in this case hot water) at the desired finish temperature. Never more and never less. The item bastes in its own juices until it reaches the desired finished temperature. And a cooler is designed to do precisely that—hold temperatures steady for long periods of time. Recently we tried this method on a couple of filets and were astounded as how easy it was and how well and precisely it cooked the meat.

First, season the meat with pepper and salt, place in an Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Squeeze all the air from the bag as the food will need to directly contact the cooking liquid with no air spaces between. Make sure the bag is secured closed to prevent water from leaking into the bag.

To cook beef mid-rare (160° F) fill a small cooler with hot water from the tap and then add heated water from a teapot to bring the entire bath to 165-170°F The water bath temperature will drop slightly once you add the food which is why you start a few degrees higher. You must use an accurate instant read thermometer to insure the temperatures are correct.

Place the Ziploc bag(s) containing the filets in the water. Place a small lid on top to keep the bags fully submerged. Close the lid and then after a couple of minutes check the temperature and if off by more than a few degrees, adjust up or down as necessary. Close the lid and wait another 30 minutes before checking the water temperature again. If needed, adjust the water bath temperature by adding more hot water but never get it hotter than your final desired temperature. After 1.5 hours the filets will be cooked to perfection. You'll know it's done because the juices will have come out of the meat and it will be brown on the outside. You're doing the same thing that you do with any other heat source, you're setting the proteins in the meat. Let the filets stand for 20 minutes and the quickly (on the grill or in a pan) char the outside for 30 seconds. You will be astonished at the tenderness of the meat.

We served our sous vide cooked filet mignon with a slice of no-knead, pecan semolina bread and an apple-cauliflower soup. For desert, a signature dish of home made fresh strawberry and pineapple candied fruit jellies, no added sugar, just pure juice and all the yummy goodness one can stand.

salted tomatoes by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

We're not posting recipes since we're on sabbatical but inspired by a blogger who has posted some 9,000 images of everything he's consumed over the past 5 years we thought it apropos to share a few meals of the last several months. Savvy cooks only need an idea to figure out the recipes anyway so let's hope these inspire you to get happy in the kitchen.

Starter. Roasted carrot, golden beet, apple, and red pepper soup. Winter heaven.

Some pasta. Roasted califlower and almonds with acorn squash puree. More winter heaven.

Every since I saw Lidia Bastianich discuss salted tomatoes I've eschewed my former habit of ignoring all store-bought tomatoes and now use this technique to make them worthy of being in the cook's repertoire. Of course they'd be better with fresh tomatoes but those are only available for a couple of months a year. Look for the ripest ones and use only Roma or plum varieties. Tomatoes must be blanched in boiling water and the skins removed. Then sprinkle liberally with rock salt and place in non-reactive container. Drain for 4 hours. Then toss with olive oil, minced garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Let stand for 24 hours in the fridge. Excellent base for all sorts of dishes including several below.

For example.Salted tomatoes with bleu cheese and pecans. Or Stewed Chicken with asparagus.

Then there is line caught Pacific Halibut from Alaska, second only to the Alaskan Copper River King Salmon for flavor, texture, and yummy goodness. Cube, season, then quickly poach for a stew or tacos.

A couple of fruit tarts, each with a nut crust, for desert.] althought I've practically forgotten how to make these. They're only as good as the fruit.

Don't forget the leftovers. I love leftovers almost as much as the meal. Especially when the $100 turkey is involved. Heritage turkey on a plate of garlic mashed blue potatoes or an open-faced sandwich on homemade bread. Both with a cranberry confit.

simple is as simple does: figs with key lime sugar by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

I like to cook. Most who know moi, know that. But what they may not know, is that although some of my cooking might appear complex or involved, my favorite form of cooking involves simplicity. Find fresh ingredients, pair them with simple, but unique flavors, and make something interesting and worthy of sharing. Desserts are meant to be shared, this is why we like them so much, they typically involve sharing with others.

Back to simplicity. Thomas Keller can cook and his food is interesting. It has a certain simplicity if you focus on the individual steps instead of the outcome. That's one of the keys of french cuisine in which Keller if profoundly steeped. Cusine français can appear to be, and is some cases be, quite complex, but primarily the complexity arises from the subtle layers and interplay of simple ingredients.

One of my favorite chef has always been Jacques Pépin, who some may know as mentor to Julia Child, has always been one of my favorite chefs primarily because he's very grounded in the reality that cooking food is foremost sustenance, but it must also taste good and look good. Pepin was a 3-star Michelin chef in France before he become one of the first tv chefs. There was Child, Pepin, and that goofy, galloping, Scot gourmet, Graham Kerr. Since then, there seem to have been thousands of tv and celebrity chefs most of whom know a lot more about makeup than they do about plate presentation.

My friends also know they can hardly talk me into making dessert anymore and when I do I usually resort to tricky. Here's a good one that's marvelous slight-of-hand. It owes it existence to my 3-year quest to make the world's greatest limeade (still perfecting this one) and it's very simple (almost).


For this you will need.
Fresh, ripe mission figs. A ripe fig lasts about as long a ripe peach and is almost as tasty. You'll need 3-4 per serving.

Some cream from a real honest-to-goodness dairy. There's lots of them. I prefer Shatto Farms because the cream comes in little glass bottles that make, among other things, a perfect flower vase.

Key Lime sugar. This is the hard part. But it keeps well. And since it's a bit tricky, make a larger batch. You'll find many uses for key lime sugar (some I'll share later). Zest (you'll need a special zester for the key limes because the peel of a key lime is very thin) and zesting 4 dozen key limes is no picnic. As the zest collects in a bowl cover it with finely granulated organic cane sugar. Once you're finished, you'll have a coarse meal that about the consistency of shredded coconut. Four dozen key limes can season a pound of sugar. Immediately place the sugar in a glass jar and seal for several weeks. The lime zest will candy and the sugar will obtain a wonderful aroma that rivals that of Madagascar vanilla bean sugar. You have to stir the sugar occassionally to keep if form solidifying into a mass. If done right, you should be able to spoon it easily when finished. If you really wanted to gild the Lily you could add a hit of vanilla bean to the batch. Resist that urge!

Quarter the figs. Place in a dish. Freeze a stainless steel whipping bowl along with the whisk. Whisk the cream until it begins to thicken and then add a couple of tablespoons of the key lime sugar. Whisk until soft peaks form. Let stand refrigerated for an hour or so to allow the lime zest to better flavor the cream. Rewhisk as needed and then add to the quartered figs.

Options. None recommended but you could garnish with candied ginger in very small amounts. Biscuits, i.e. shortbread would work well. Raspberries. Chocolate, milk or dark.

best leftovers i had today by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

As much as I like to cook, repurposing leftovers into something tasty is almost as much fun. The keys to a good repurpose are ingredients and planning. The use of top quality ingredients is really the key to all cooking but can certainly take what might be bland leftovers and move them into a higher realm. Planning for leftovers typically means making sure the original foods aren't overcooked.

Poached salmon salad.

6 oz. leftover coho salmon, stored refrigerated in the poaching liquid.
fresh spinach, washed and torn
fresh romaine, washed and torn
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
4 fresh figs
toasted sesame seeds
few slices of parmaggino

Place the ingredients, excepting the salmon, in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper. Add a dash of toasted sesame oil and fresh lemon juice. Plate. Break up the salmon onto the top. Arrange the figs around the edge of the plate. Enjoy with a hearty chunk of real bread. There you go. A fine, healthy dinner in about 15 minutes.

best meal i had today by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

This meal has lots of red food in it. Tomatoes. Cherries. Grapes. And wild Alaskan Coho salmon. Red food is supposed to be good for you. Antioxidant proprieties or some such thing. Blue food, i.e. blueberries, is also supposed to be good for you. But think about it, green food, as in green leafy vegetables woiuld definitely be good for you. Yellow food, such as squash and corn, would also be good for you. Colorful food looks good on the plate, but really, as long as the food is fresh and prepared well, it's probably good for you.

Here's the best meal I had today; ok well, true, it might have been yesterday. Simple and easy. Red and green.

Salmon poached with garlic and spinach.

Nice slab, 3/4 lbs or so, of fresh salmon.
3 cloves of German stiff-necked garlic, diced.
1/2 pound of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped.
3/4 cup of half and half.
salt and pepper.

Pour the half and half in a small shallow saucepan and add the garlic and spinach. Place the salmon on top, skin side down. Salt and pepper the top side. Then simmer covered for about 10 minutes. The salmon may need to cook for a few minutes longer. If that is the case, then remove the spinach and garlic with a slotted spoon. Poach the salmon until just firm - about 140° F. Serve on a bed of the spinach.

bison with salted tomatoes and basmati rice by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

I don't know how to describe this dish except that it's wonderfully simple, with subtle undertones, and a mix of influences that one wouldn't necessarily think to mix: Italian, Indian, and New American. A melting pot dish if ever there were one. I'll say this about it. I was surprised to find out that a 4.5 pound bag of organic San Marzano tomatoes cost me as much at the farmer's market as two organically raised buffalo strip steaks. The strip steaks were on sale and the tomatoes were overpriced and some of the first of the season. Because of this, the tomatoes had yet to develop the intense flavor that we expect by late July. That's one reason I decided to salt them which is really the first step before drying if using m.o.i.'s patented drying formula.

Bison Steak with Salted Tomatoes and Basmati Rice

One or two grass-fed bison strip steaks (one for every 2 servings).
One or two pounds of Roma type tomatoes (1/2 per serving).
1/2 large vidalia onion, coarsely chopped.
Basamati rice (1-2 cups cooked per serving).
2-3 cloves of German stiff-necked garlic.
1/4 cup Sapa (see link below for recipe).
Several sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced.
Oil olive. Salt. Pepper.

The night before. Trim any fat from the steaks, mince the garlic, and toss in a non-reactive bowl with the Sapa and enough oil olive so that all the pieces are coated and the garlic sticks to meat. Add pepper, dash of salt. Cover and refrigerate.

To salt the tomatoes. Slice a small X in the bottom and core the tops then drop for one minute in boiling water. Remove the tomatoes when the skins spit and quickly drop into ice water. When cool, the skins will slip right off. Remove the skins and place the tomatoes in non-reactive colander. Salt liberally with sea salt. The salt will pull water from the tomatoes and as the water drains through the colander, the excess salt with go with it. Let these drain for an hour or so. This is not a salty dish. The salt is used to cook the tomatoes and intensify the flavors. If the tomatoes taste overly salty then let them drain longer.

Once drained. Toss with olive oil, a tablespoon of sabba, the onions, and minced fresh rosemary.

Cook the rice with a small amount of saffron and cumin. Fluff.

Sear the steak over very high heat until the outside caramelizes; mid-rare is best. You can skewer them and grill them outside if you wish. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. The saba adds a wonderful sweet nutty tones to garlicky earthy flavor of the bison.

Assemble the ingredients on a bed of rice. Serve with sangria, a gin and tonic (or iced green tea), or a nice pilsner depending upon which influence you prefer to highlight.

Sapa recipe

now you're talking summer food by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Nothing like the food of summer.
Peaches and cream corn-on-the-cob.
Steamed snap peas.
Grilled lamb chop and Georgia peaches.
Mango, roasted red pepper, and vidalia onion chutney.

I think you can figure out the rest. Here's the chutney.

Mango, roasted red pepper, and vidalia onion chutney.

2 medium bell peppers, roasted, skins removed.
1/2 vidalia onion, finely diced.
1/2 fresh mango, diced.
1/4 cup Sapa (see note below).
1 tablespoon high quality balsamic vinegar.
Fresh rosemary, black pepper, and salt to taste.

Place the diced onions in a non-reactive bowl. Add the sabba. Let stand for 2 hours. Add the balsamic, then the rosemary; let stand 15 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Serve room temp or prepare the night before and refrigerate. Four servings.

Sapa is like balsamic vinegar without the acid. Also called sappa or sabba; it's cooked must (unfermented grape juice originally made with wine mash). Sweet, nutty, and mysterious. To make. Place 4 pounds of washed and stemmed red grapes in a large heavy pot. Add heat and cover until the skins pop. Then simmer very, very slowly for 1.5 to 2 days. That's right, a day and a half. Last step. Strain through chinois, then reduce to thick syrup without carmelizing the natural sugars. Pour in sterilized bottle. Makes approximately 8 ounces. Use in place of balsamic vinegar. You may be able to find this in a few gourmet stores. It, like high quality balsamic vinegar is expensive. Expect to pay about $25 for a small bottle.

any last requests? by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

The wild blackberries are in season which means it's hot. The same could be said for blueberries, except they are cultivated. OK. Whatever. Get outdoors and get used to it; the heat is going to be with us a while but the berries won't last but a couple of weeks. For some reason, wild blackberries are always co-located with poison ivy and ticks so I've acquired all three over the last week but really only a taste for the berries. Someone who thinks nature has a mind of its own might think there's a plan afoot but my suspicions point to the forest edge and the suitability of all to that microclimate.

Blackberries ripening amid the poison ivy.

The best way to cook wild blackberries is not-at-all. By that I mean you just eat what you pick. Seldom do you find enough in any one area to pick more than a pint or two so it's hard to stock up on the wild ones. Don't try. Steal them like an afternoon delight. Although I did pick a pint yesterday and give them to a dying man as one of his last requests. I repeat this only to inform you of the lengths you'll have to go to get a pint from m.o.i.

gwenth paltrow's sweet muffin by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

"The whole grain muffins are great even though they contain no sugar."--Gwenth Paltrow. from GOOP (her lifestyle website).

Gweneth Paltrow is a fine Oscar-winning actress but I'm not sure how much she understands food. Her recipe for banana muffins (and if by now, you can't find a recipe for banana muffins, then maybe you should just go buy some at the grocery store) doesn't contain sugar but it does contain bananas, maple and rice syrups, raisins, and nuts. Your body converts all these to sugars, which of course one needs, but from your body's viewpoint, sugar is largely sugar. Given the ingredients, it's true, Ms. Paltrow's muffin is sweet.

goopy lifestyle goop

get your hot chocolate on by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Unlike Christopher Elbow, we don't charge $4 dollars a mug and we publish the recipe. The key, as always, are fine ingredients. Here's what you'll need.

Freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee, suggest Broadway Coffee Sumatra Mandheling.
1/2 and 1/2, suggest Shatto Farms.
Giradeli Ground Chocolate.
Lindt Dark Chocolate w/ Chilis.
Dash of fresh vanilla.
Twist of orange rind.
Crystallized ginger, soft peppermints, or homemade marshmallows (recipe to follow).

To begin. Grind your coffee for French press. Boil some water in a teapot. If your concerned about calories, you'll probably want to make chamomile tea. This hot cacao isn't something you'd drink everyday.

Use heavy mugs (your favorite) for this because it's special. For each cup of hot chocolate you'll need 1 tablespoon of ground chocolate and 2 squares (approx. 25 g. or about 1 oz.) of chocolate. Stir the ground chocolate into the 1/2 and 1/2 and then slowly heat over a very gentle flame. Add the chocolate and continue stirring to melt the chocolate. Do not boil. Add a dash of vanilla.

Once your water reaches the proper temperature for making coffee, pour it into the french press and let it steep for 5 minutes. Pour the melted chocolate mixture to fill about a third of the cup, then add coffee to the remaining. Stir to incorporate. Garnish with orange twist, candied ginger, peppermints, or marshmallows. Serve fireside.

Note: OK, given your income level you can go up with the ingredients (i.e. use a better chocolate) or you can go down a notch (i.e. use milk and hersey's cocoa. But using freshly, ground and perfectly roasted coffee is key here. Over-roasted coffees will overwhelm the chocolate flavors.

venison cornbread with mono-ha cornbread by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Some of what your parents told was wrong, misinformed, or perhaps even self-centered. Remember?

They said, "don't play with your food!"

But what they may have meant to say was, "don't throw your food; especially not at your siblings". Throwing food tended to leave stains on the walls and whelps on your hind end. However, food should be more than mere sustenance, so being playful with it can help you enjoy it.

In that vein, and in the spirit of mid-winter, why not play with chili? A friend granted us some venison so that was the start. We also found some lovely Purple Prairie barley in the pantry so instead of the typical beans as counterpoint for our chili, we decided the nutty flavor of barley would work well against the venison. And lastly, in doing a little reading on the history of soul food we have been making cornbread, in part, because it's so inexpensive to make. So why not combine all these elements?

Initially the food of slaves, soul food went mainstream during the black pride movement of the 60's. Many of the dishes we think of as soul food, such as fried chicken and biscuits, were celebratory meals. The weren't meant to be consumed daily. Meat was rare and the staple protein during the week was cornbread. Soul food restaurants began to offer what had once been meals to gorge on, daily, and in the process began to inadvertently kill people. In the words of some critics at the time, notably Dick Gregory, glorifying soul food didn't make sense. Soul food, in Gregory's mind, was all about killing black folk-twice. A cuisine born of slavery and then glorified into daily use where it again enslaved folks with heart attacks, high blood pressure, obesity, and strokes.

Primarily because poverty knows few bounds soul food long ago crossed the racial divide and many dishes became southern staple - for blacks and whites. As with any other heavy food, moderation is the key to enjoying soul food.

And to free ourselves from this legacy, we decided to incorporate some conceptual Japanese sculptural approaches into our cooking and lift ourselves up a bit.

Venison and purple barley chili with mono-ha cornbread.

First cook the barley. Use vegetable stock to flavor the barley as it cooks; it must be cooked separately from the venison since it takes much longer to cook. Cooking barley is a bit like cooking wild rice because it takes twice as long and twice as much liquid as you initially imagine; usually an hour or more to get the grains to pop. You can cook the barley the day before if you want and refrigerate.

For the venison chili. Saute an onion in olive oil in a heavy skillet until translucent. Add the ground venison and brown.

The next step is crucial to improving the health of this dish. You want to remove as much of the fat from the meat as possible. Here's a good way to do it. As soon as the meat has cooked throughout, add 1/2 bottle of premium ale or lager to the pan to solubilize the fats. Cook over medium-high heat to reduce the liquid by one-half. This will also add a little flavor and then immediately drain the meat (while hot) in fine mesh stainless strainer. Once the meat is cooked and de-fatted, return it to the pan and then add 1 can of diced tomatoes (this helps the meat from now getting dry) and also at this point add 3 cloves of minced garlic and your favorite chili flavorings (i.e. cumin, paprika, pepper, a little salt). If you like spicy chili then add the pepper of your liking depending upon how much heat you want: poblano for mild, jalepeno for hot, habanero for very spicy. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Now combine the cooked barley with the venison mixture to finish the chili. Serve with sculpted cornbread and fresh, or steamed, julienned carrots that have been flavored with a dash of sesame oil and ginger.

Lower image: Nobuo Sekine, Phase Mother Earth, 1968, photographer unknown.

warrior ant press: 2009 food trends by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Not long ago moi's spawn turned me onto this restaurant in Chicago, Alinea, that is so pretentious they've even hired a fashion consultant to dress the kitchen staff. Now the food looks pretty incredible and the web site shows lots of images of cutting edge cuisine, but there are a couple of things that seem to be missing. Women in the kitchen. Stain's on the chef's aprons. The food looks like a mirage but the prices are more like billboards. Fine dining perhaps if you're a one-percenter or have just sold an Illinois Senate seat for a tidy sum, but a little beyond the means of the majority of ants. However, it did get us to thinking, what will cuisine look like in the post-apocalyptic Bush garden?

So today, given the state of the economy, warrior ant press, suggests some food trends you might want to be on the lookout for in 2009.

Gruel. Served with fallen apples. Waste not, want not!

Soul food mash-ups. Examples. Deep-fried free-range cornish hens with balsamic-drizzled collard greens and ginger biscuits. Spicy crab cakes on a concassé of beets, sweet potatoes, and turnips.

Invasive species. For example. Asian Carp en papillote with kudzu sprouts and garlic mustard.

Moonshine martinis.

Yard birds. The original free-range bird; hey, don't be ashamed, it was good enough for your granny.

Stealing chickens. Lure your neighbor's chickens onto your property in time for Sunday dinner. (All things considered, be sure to offer prayers).

2009 will also be the year of lawn-fed beef, deep-fried foam, and smoked air with essence of truffles.

chicago's most pretentious restaurant
soul food from africa to america

week of soups: day 7 by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

week of soups: day 7--fkc that. Order pizza!

My favorite pie is from the Whole Foods at 91st and Metcalf. They have a wood-fired oven, bakers who know how to prep the dough, and a whole store full of fresh, flavorful, organic ingredients. It's a bit of a drive to LaLa Land, but when I find myself out there, with money to burn and groceries to buy, I grab a couple of slices. One of favorites is the spinach and roasted garlic. YumYum.

Second favorite would be Pizza Bella. Although they are serving more a flatbread with novel ingredients than a true pizza. One of my favorites is the leek and pancetta with chevre.

week of soups--day 6: tomato, pepper, and mushroom by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

week of soups--day 6: tomato, pepper, and mushroom

Don't know about you, but we're getting tired of soups. So let's finish out easy.
Add some of the duxelles to the tomato and pepper base. Heat and serve. I like to add home-made croutons to the dish (for crunch!) but you could do any number of things to liven this soup up. i.e. a dollop of chevre would do the trick.

week of soups--day 5: tomato,red pepper, and salmon by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

week of soups--day 5: tomato,red pepper, and salmon

Since we already have our soup base (day 4) this one will be a breeze.

What you'll need for each serving. Approximately 3-4 ounce serving of fresh wild salmon. Forget the farm-raised stuff. It lacks flavor and color. And forget the salmon if it doesn't look fresh. I've noticed that a lot of fish mongers are keeping fish past it's prime in the case, just to make the case look full and to hold down inventory. Don't be afraid to tell the butcher that you want that one, yeah that one, 3rd from the back, and can you cut it half? A good shop will oblige you what you want. You could float lesser quality, less flavorful fish (like talapia) in this soup but only for the added protein. The soup would largely overwhelm the mild flavor of a whitefish. But if the salmon looks like it might kill you, then substitute. Please substitute.

Heat the tomato and red pepper soup base gently. Place the salmon pieces in an oiled (olive oil!) glass baking pan. Drizzle some oil on the top of the fish and then sprinkle the salmon pieces with paprika, sea salt, and a small amount of black pepper. Bake @ 325°F for ~15 minutes or until 130° F. Remove from the oven. Let stand for a few minutes. Then ladle the hot soup in the bowls and place on the salmon pieces in the center. If you do this right, the salmon will finish in the bowl, retaining its flake and moistness.

I love the red-orange color of this dish and the nutty flavor of the salmon against the spicy sweet and slighly acid taste of the soup.

week of soups--day 4: spicy tomato and roasted red pepper by Warrior Ant Press Worldwide Anthill Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

week of soups--day 4: spicy tomato and roasted red pepper

OK. This isn't exactly the time of the year for tomatoes but there are some decent hydroponics out there. But they won't have that mid-summer flavor so the best only thing to do is cook with them. Plus it's nice sometimes to bring a little bit of summer into your kitchen when the weather outside is frosty.

6 medium paste-type or a dozen Roma tomatoes, skinned and diced.
3-4 large carrots, diced.
1 medium onion, diced.
1 cup chopped celery.
2 large red bell peppers, roasted, skinned, and chopped.
1 chile (or habanero!) pepper, diced finely.
5-6 cloves of peeled garlic.
1 cup of vegetable stock.
Salt, pepper to taste.

This will take a little bit of time (not nearly as much as the day 1 stock) but once finished, you'll have the base for soups 4 thru 6.

To skin the tomatoes. Core them and slice an X through the bottom skin. Drop the tomatoes in boiling water for ~1 minutes until the skin splits and then remove and drop in ice water. The skins should slip off easily at this point. Dice the tomatoes coarsely.

Saute the onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil in a heavy bottom stock pot until tender. Add the tomatoes, cover and bring to a boil. Then add the peppers, garlic, and vegetable stock and simmer for 1/2 or so until the carrots are tender. The zip in this soup comes from the hot pepper and garlic. Adjust these spices to your flavor profile. Adding the garlic at the end also retains more of the heat of the garlic. If you saute the garlic on the front end, you'll have a much milder flavor in the finished soup. Likewise with the hot pepper. Retain the veins and seeds for heat and remove these for a more moderate flavor.

Process the cooked soup in a blender or food processor. Serve hot with croutons or hearty bread.