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Salsa Soup

This fine Mexican soup is served cold as a first course--with tortilla chips--to 6 people.

Garnish: Avocado cream; green onion curls or chopped cilantro; tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in the oil over medium heat until soft--about 10 minutes. Mix in the salt and cayenne. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add tomatoes, and cook for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then puree and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, stir in lime juice, adjust seasoning, and ladle into bowls. Gently spoon in the avocado cream and top with the onion or cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

To make avocado cream: Blend 2 ripe avocados with 2/3 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 4 teaspoons lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.