July 2007


Food: What's Cooking?

Soup: Some Like It Cold
six summer soups made with fruits and veggies

Just because it is soup, doesn't mean it has to be hot. Here are some cool treats for the summer table.


BLENDER GAZPACHO

Yield: Makes 4 servings.

      1 medium  red bell pepper, seeded
      1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
      2 cups vegetable juice (such as V-8)
      1 cup salsa
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon  olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Tabasco, to taste      
salt and pepper, to taste
croutons (optional)

Chop vegetables into small pieces, then blend all ingredients in batches, aiming for a coarse puree. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 2 hours. (Best if made a day ahead, so flavors can combine.) Recipe can be doubled. Serve with croutons.





BLUEBERRY-CRANBERRY SOUP

Yield: 8 servings

A great soup for an elegant summer dinner. The recipe is based on a Swedish dish for which lingonberries normally would be used. If you can find any, use them. Otherwise, cranberries make a fine American adaptation to this dish. This soup keeps very well, and leftovers are
wonderful stirred into plain or vanilla yogurt.

4 cups water
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
cup white sugar
teaspoon salt
2 sticks cinnamon, 1-1/2 inches long
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1/3 cup lemon juice
1-1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, unsweetened
1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce (16 ounces)   
sour cream, to garnish

In a medium-size saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the cranberry sauce and sour cream. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly; then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cranberry sauce. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold, with a dollop of sour cream.

Reader comment: I used fresh cranberries instead of cranberry sauce, which resulted in it being less soupy and more like a sweet and sour side dish. The two berries create a whole new berry flavor.

Reader comment: This was definitely a nice dish we served over the fourth of July. Everyone gave rave reviews for the taste. Easy to make, this one is a keeper.




COLD CUCUMBER SOUP

Yield: Makes 6 servings.

3 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large hard-cooked egg, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and minced
1/4 cup scallions, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh dill

Beat yogurt and cream together, then add other ingredients and blend in a food processor or blender until creamy. Chill overnight or up to 24 hours. Beat again just before serving, and garnish with additional fresh chopped parsley or dill.


 



COLD STRAWBERRY SOUP

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Cool and refreshing -- this soup is a winner during strawberry season.

2 quarts fresh strawberries
1 cup white sugar
2 cups water
cup fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon, grated
2 cups Rhine wine

In a food processor or blender, puree the berries.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Boil for 10 minutes to make a sugar syrup. Cool. Add the berries to the cooled syrup. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Chill well. Just before serving, stir in the wine.

Reader comment: More of a desert than a meal

Reader comment: This is great as an appetizer - not a meal.  I substituted White Grape Juice for the wine.  I do like the other Cold Strawberry Soup recipe better... I served this with Chicken Salad on a croissant with a beverage.


LATE SUMMER SOUP WITH STONE FRUITS

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

  For the soup: 
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup Gewrztraminer wine
cup  table grapes, white or red
cup pitted fresh cherries, such as Bing
3 plums, pitted
1 cinnamon stick
zest of 1 orange
1 sprig mint

  For the toppings:
2 plums
2 peaches
1 kiwi (peeled and diced)
cup  raspberries
1 cup fresh cherries (pitted and cut in half)
vanilla ice cream or fruit sorbet

In a medium saucepan, simmer water and sugar together until sugar dissolves.  Add next seven ingredients and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to assemble toppings, halve the plums and peaches. Remove pits, turn skin side up, and make a series of 1/8-inch-wide vertical cuts, leaving enough skin at the top to hold each half
together. Place each half into a bowl, then spread slices out into a fan shape.

When soup is done cooking, remove cinnamon stick, divide into two batches, and puree in a blender (be careful: hot liquids can splatter), then strain.  To serve, spoon soup into bowls, top each with fruit and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fruit sorbet.


COLD RHUBARB SOUP

Yield: Makes 6 servings.
     
1-1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed
cup sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces mascarpone (or sour cream)

Trim, wash, and pat rhubarb dry. Dice into 1/2-inch cubes. Add sugar to water, bring to a boil, then add rhubarb. Return to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add vanilla, salt, and pepper. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if desired. Cool, then refrigerate. When thoroughly chilled, garnish with an egg-size scoop of mascarpone or sour cream.