Monday, April 16, 2007

Spicy Tortilla Soup!

I bought a new cookbook, The Real Food Daily by Ann Gentry. There are also 2 Real Food Daily restaurants in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, CA. They are great restaurants and have been around for more than 12 years. We visited them but they are way too far for us to visit often. So I am glad to be able to get this cookbook.

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I tried the tortilla soup recipe from this cookbook and it's so goood and spicy! You know me, I like it SPICY! I also tried other recipes from this cookbook such as Mexicali Chop Salad with Crispy tortilla strips and Lime-cilantro vinaigrette and Seitan Enchiladas with Salsa Verde (pg. 104 and 152). If you have this cookbook, try them, they are wonderful for this upcoming Cinco De Mayo (that is if you are celebrating it). These Mexican dishes really satisfied our tummy.

BTW, the Crispy Tortilla Strips on top are so crunchy, salty, spicy, and a bit sweet. DH loves it and said that these are good just to snack on. Whooosh, they are gone in a flash! The crispy strips are perfect for both on the salad and the soup.

A week ago we rented a movie called 'Tortilla Soup' (a funny and interesting movie), so that's how I came up with the idea of making this soup. Surprisingly enough, my new cookbook has a recipe for this soup. This must be a 'coinkidink', oh, I mean a 'coincidence', OR a God's Divine Intervention!

Now, about the tortilla soup, I have never made it before. I have seen it in restaurants' menu (usually has chicken broth in it, don't know why people can't just use vegetable broth?) and have heard of it but never know how to make it until I opened this cookbook. What's interesting about this soup is that corn tortillas are cooked in the soup with other ingredients until they are soft and disintegrate. Then, using a handheld immersion blender(I just love my hand blender), the soup ingredients are blended till smooth in the pot.

Who had this idea of cooking tortillas in a soup, anyway? Was it an accident in the first place? Oops, I dropped tortillas in my soup so let's see what happens if I cook them in it? Oh well, whatever it was, this soup is yummy and filling. Another thing about it, it is EASY to make. Any bachelor can do it, guarantee!

The soup is good with toppings like the Crispy Tortilla Chips, Avocado slices ('Avocado in a soup?' DH asked), and sour cream ( I made Vegan Sour Cream with silken tofu). It was suggested to top the soup with Pico De Gallo (fresh salsa) too but I didn't make it.

Here is the recipe with my changes:

Tortilla Soup
(Adapted from The Real Food Daily cookbook by Ann Gentry)

1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chili, finely chopped
2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
9 cups vegetable broth
1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
8 organic corn tortillas, coarsly chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup Crispy Tortilla Strips
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
Tofu Sour Cream

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the jalapeno chile, tamari or soy sauce, cumin, salt, oregano, and pepper, and saute 1 minute longer.
  2. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cover and bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender. Add the tortillas and simmer 10 minutes longer, or until the tortillas are falling apart.
  3. Using a handheld immersion blender, blend the soup in the pot until smooth. Alternatively, working in batches, puree in a regular blender. Stir in the cilantro.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with the tortilla strips, avocado, and tofu sour cream, and serve.
Crispy Tortilla Strips
(Adapted from The Real Food Daily cookbook by Ann Gentry)
1/2 tablespoon canola oil or oil spray
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon maple sugar or regular sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the oil over both sides of the tortillas (if use oil spray, spray on both sides). Cut the tortillas in half, then cut the halves crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick strips.
  2. Spread he tortilla strips on a heavy, rimmed bakingsheet. Stir in the chili powder, maple sugar or sugar, and salt in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the chili powder mixture over the tortilla strips, toss the strips to coat, then arrange them evenly over the baking sheet.
  3. Bake, tossing occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-line plate and cool.
Here are the pictures of our Mexican meal, all recipes came from this cookbook(highly recommend to buy):

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Mexicali Chop Salad with Crispy tortilla strips and Lime-cilantro vinaigrette (lettuce, tomatoes, mangoes, zucchini, and avocado). The lime-cilantro vinaigrette dressing is very refreshing. A wonderful starter before we plunged into the spicy soup and enchilada.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Seitan Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, topped with Tofu Sour Cream.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Seitan Enchilada just came out from the oven. It is easy to make your own Salsa Verde (tomatillos, onions, garlic, and green chilies). This enchilada doesn't look pretty but it sure tastes very good. Don't judge food by its look only!


Anonymous said...

Debbie, your soup looks SO GOOD. I have the same book, I'll try the recipe with your changes.

The enchiladas look yummy too!! If only my meals could look as appetizing as yours, I'm sure John would eat vegan food too.


julie hasson said...

What time is dinner Debbie? It all looks fabulous!

Did you make the sour cream, or was it Tofutti?


P.S. CHeck out our blog/website, because we have a kimchi segment.

spiceislandvegan said...


If you have that cookbook you should try the recipes. It's fabulous! I am going to try the Athena Barley with Kalamata Olives and Tomatoes next (the one pictured on the cover)and I am thinking to add Bryanna's New 'Feta cheese' since I have some in the fridge.

This book uses a lot of tempeh, too. But since I am out of tempeh I will wait until I bring back some tempeh from Oregon, from Yongkie.


I used Bryanna's Tofu Sour Cream recipe. It is easy to make (silken tofu, lemon juice, a bit of salt and sugar) instead of buying from the store. It is cheaper, too!

Hey, pretty soon, I will be having dinner at your house. I will be bringing appetizers, Indonesian bakcang/my pagoda pockets and lemper(sweet rice croquettes) to your house. Your website and blog looks wonderful!


julie hasson said...

Thanks Debbie! Wow, I can't wait for dinner! I better think about what I'm going to make ; )

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Yum, yum, yum! Takes me back to my California roots! Not alot of good mexican food up here! The pictures look great, too, Debbie!

KleoPatra said...

Hey, it's great to see you post again!

"Don't judge food by its look only!"

Truly words to live by...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I made the tortilla soup! But I inadvertently printed only the ingredients page. So, I simply put all the ingredients in a pot and boiled for 45 minutes. It came out incredibly well and was delicious! So, it also works if you add everything at the same time and just cover and boil for 45 minutes! Amazingly good! No fuss, no muss, YUMMY!!!!

spiceislandvegan said...

That's wonderful! Yeah this soup is great to eat during cold weather. it warms you up. Thanks for the post!