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Jocoque Soup

(Mexican vegetable soup over a sweet torte)

Jocoque is a Mexican-style sour cream, somewhere between salted buttermilk and a thin sour cream and ranging in taste from tangy to sharp. What makes this soup quite unusual is its odd juxtapositions--sweet and savory, bland and piquante, liquid and solid, with unexpected textures and with a wonderfully festive look. In fact, it's a complete surprise to eat--and in the most positive way. It's adapted from Guadalupe Rivera's Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo, her stepmother. Serve hot in flat, wide soup bowls to 4 people. It is an excellent prelude to any number of Mexican or other main dishes. It's a great start, in fact, to a roast or barbeque chicken.

"Under" garnish: Lightly beat 1 egg white with 2 egg yolks--then whip in 1 cup of sour cream (or jocoque), 2 Tablespoons of flour, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Scrape into a small greased pan or baking dish (about 8" x 4") and bake in a preheated 350 F degree oven for about 20 minutes--it will puff high and slightly brown on the edges.

Make the torte first, as described in the "under" garnish. Once you put the torte in the oven, you can begin the soup.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and toss in the onion, carrot, and hot pepper. Cook over medium-low until the onion is translucent. Add the zucchini, toss for a minute--then add the minced tomato and cook until thick, stirring occasionally. When thick, pour in the stock, crumbled in the oregano, and add the minced parsley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

When ready to serve, unmold the torte and cut into 4 equal pieces--placing one in each of the 4 flat, wide serving bowls. Ladle the broth and vegetables over the torte in each bowl and serve immediately.