Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Nov 22, 2011

Red Wine & Brandy Tomato Soup

Libations used: 1/4 cup brandy, 1/2 cup red wine
Libations left over: Hmm, well you could make a cocktail with brandy or have a glass of red while those tomatoes are stewing.
Thanksgiving is imminent and the Lush Chef will be heading home to cook with her family, but in the days leading up to my trip, I needed something quick and hearty to get me through the next few days.  I had just spent the previous day wine tasting up in Santa Ynez along my favorite trail and didn't have the energy to make anything complicated or source a lot of ingredients.  Plus, aren't we all going to be cooking up a storm on Thursday?  The Lush Chef's dad sent her this recipe from a while ago and I had been craving tomato soup.  It's not a creamy tomato soup—it has more of a gazpacho-like texture, so it's healthier and packs plenty of flavor with all the herbs.  Their recipe recommends using cherry brandy, but I just used the regular brandy I had on hand and then a fruity Grenache Shiraz.

Red Wine & Brandy Tomato Soup - serves 8
  • 8 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 Tbs dried thyme
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • salt & pepper to taste

- In a dutch oven or large sauce pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the red onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, herbs, brandy and wine and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Make yourself a cocktail or drink a glass of wine.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Put the mixture in a blender or food processor and pour through a strainer to get rid of some of those tomato peels.
- If you are craving a little richness, top with a dollop of crème fraiche.