Friday, March 4, 2016

Healthy Living in the Tropics Part 2 Cool Soups

And now that we have come back from the Masaya market, let us get cooking. Here are some delicious and easy to make soups that evokes a taste of Latin America.



4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup minced green onion
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pinch dried oregano

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

  1. Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
  2. Place cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Pour pureed mixture through a strainer into the tomato-cucumber mixture; stir to combine.
  3. Place 1/3 of the tomato mixture into the blender. Cover, turn blender on, and puree until smooth. Return pureed mixture to the remaining tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
  4. Season cold soup with salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with basil.

Avocado Vichyssoise:

Avocado Vichyssoise

This is an easy soup to make. It is served cold so it is a refreshing lunch or beginning to supper.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot. Add 3 peeled and cubed potatoes and 3 trimmed and chopped leeks. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add 4 cups stock, vegetable is best. Boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Purée, then let cool. Stir in a mix of mashed and coarsely chopped flesh of  2 avocados before serving. Garnish: Chopped cilantro. If you can not find leeks here some mild onions with green attached can be used, just reduce the quantity a bit.

Lime and Tortilla Soup:

Not cool but declicious

In this classic soup, called sopa de lima, from Mexico's Yucatan region. You can use chicken breasts or my favorite is with shredded BBQ chicken it goes well with the chipotle peppers. Be careful not to add too much chili or the soup may be too fiery for comfort. You want to maintain a good balance between the tartness of the lime and the heat of the chilies. One large avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced, makes a soothing garnish to the spicy broth. 


  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into strips 2 inches long
  • 2 cups shredded BBQ chicken (I like the smoky flavor)
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 to 3 tsp. finely minced chipotle chili peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes 
  • 6 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 12 paper-thin lime slices, cut into quarters


In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 3 1/2 quarts of the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat so the broth boils gently and boil until reduced by half to about 7 cups, about 30 minutes. Buy a BBQ chicken and use bones and skin to make stock.

Brush tortillas with light coating of oil. Cut into narrow 1/4 inch strips and place in 350 oven for about 15 minutes until crisp.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño chili and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to soften. Add the reduced broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the shredded chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, and simmer until the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Sprinkle the lime pieces and tortilla strips evenly over the top. Garnish with queso fresco and avocado.  Serve immediately. Enjoy

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