From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.

  • – a blender
  • – four tomatoes
  • – one green bell pepper
  • – one English cucumber
  • – half a red onion
  • – one garlic clove
  • – two 12-ounce cans of tomato juice
  • – red wine vinegar
  • – olive oil
  • – salt and pepper



  • 1. Chop all the vegetables.

    Step 1

  • 2. Add the vegetables to the blender.

    Step 2

  • 3. Add the tomato juice to the blender and blend until puréed. If the purée is too thick, add water to thin it out. (You can blend in batches if you can’t fit all the ingredients in at once.)

    Step 3

  • 4. Add a generous splash of red wine vinegar and a few healthy spoonfuls of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and stir. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

    Step 4

  • 5. Serve in a bowl, topped with homemade croutons.

    Step 5

Illustrations by Bill Russell

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