Michel Tersiguel's Virgin Tomato Soup

Tomatoes and herbs vary greatly in flavor and intensity. Consider this recipe an outline, and taste as you go.

Serves 4

1 quart peeled, diced tomatoes

1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh, soft-leaved herbs, chopped (basil, cilantro, tarragon or parsley, singly or combined)

1 cup canned tomato juice or 2 tablespoons tomato paste

juice of half a lemon, or to taste

1/4 to 1/2 cup good-quality virgin olive oil, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

1 clove garlic, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Perrier water, champagne or Pernod (optional)

Puree the ingredients together, except the Perrier, champagne or Pernod, in a blender or food processor. Strain the mixture through a large sieve to remove some of the seeds.

If you like, just before serving, add a splash of Perrier or champagne for a little fizz, or Pernod for a hint of anise. Serve the soup cold or at room temperature. For a refreshing summer treat, freeze the soup, then blend or process it into a chilled slush before serving.

Mendo Bistro's Crab Cakes

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds Dungeness crab meat

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs, plus more for outer coating (see note)

2 green onions, finely chopped