Friday, April 27, 2012

Basil Lemonade

We all like lemonade; most of us anyway.  Lemonade takes me back to the summers of my childhood.

I received another Vegetarian Times magazine, subscription that my friend Vero,  from La Cocina de Vero con comida, gave to me for Christmas.  Thanks again my friend.

A couple of days ago I was reading through my new magazine and among the succulent recipes I found one that truly caught my attention, Basil Lemonade.  WOW, I think you already know that basil is my favorite herb, and the thought of this lemonade made my mouth water.  I checked the refrigerator for basil, I did not have any.  I went to the market and purchased the basil and some lemons.

My daughter loved it.  If you make this Basil Lemonade for your children, they will love it too.

Here we go.

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used less sugar, I like taste the lemon)
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  1. Bring basil leaves, sugar and two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar an bruise basil leaves. Simmer 5 minutes without stirring.  Strain, pressing on basil to remove liquid.  Cool.
  2. Pour 2 cups of basil syrup into a pitcher.  Stir in lemon juice and 4 cups of water.  Refrigerate and chill well.  
  3. Serve over ice, garnish with basil leaves. 
Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My version of abuela Gigi's Garlic Soup

Photo by Laura
I have been craving garlic soup for while, but not any garlic soup, abuela Gigi's garlic soup. Lots of memories come crashing through my mind. I remember the narrow dining room with lots of antiques. Her worn-out china, her silverware, true silver. I remember the kitchen, also narrow and old. It was a warm house, those wooden old houses with a porch and swing; and a very big backyard. When he was young, mi abuelo was a hunter, and you could see around the house the heads of his “trophies”. Yup, it was one of those houses. It was in Las Merceditas, a little neighborhood part of San Francisco de Paula in the outskirts of Havana. I loved going there.
Abuela Gigi was an amazing cook, one of the best I remember. Everything she made was delicious, and all I can remember is her garlic soup. This memory I have is more than twenty years old. I think this soup wraps up all those wonderful memories I have of them. I never saw them again; mis abuelos are no longer with us, but in my heart they will forever be, and that soup, abuela Gigi's soup, came to me as a reminder of how lucky I was to have them. 

I made abuela Gigi's garlic soup last night, and I think I made her proud. I told my daughter all about it and she, in a bowl of my version of abuela Gigi's garlic soup, was able to appreciate the warmth I was talking about.

This is my version of abuela Gigi's garlic soup, as best as I could remember. I never knew her recipe.

  • 16 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika -pimentón-
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 32 ounces of liquid – I used vegetable broth-
  • 1 loaf of bread – cut in slices- I used a whole grain baguette
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley – curly parsley-
  • 3 raw eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
Photo by Laura
  1. Peel the garlics and crush them. Cook garlic along with the onion, in 1 tablespoon of butter, until soften or until the onion is translucent. Once ready put in the food processor until well combined.
  2. Fry the bread in the same pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
  3. In a pot, sauté the parsley with the remaining butter. Add the pimentón, the garlic and onion mixture and the vegetable broth or the liquid of your liking.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and temper them with the soup. Do this before the soup comes to a boil. Be sure that you pour the liquid slowly to avoid curdling the eggs.* Once done tempering the eggs incorporate them to the soup. 
  5. Add the fried bread and let it cook until the bread is soft.
Photo by Laura
Photo by Laura
Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

    *If you don't like the appearance of the egg you can strain the soup. We like it with the eggs.

I truly hope you enjoy this version of the most comforting soup ever, abuela Gigi's garlic soup.

Buon appetito!