July 2007

Food: What's Cooking?

Soup: Some Like It Cold
6 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.


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.


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
    1/2 cup          white sugar
    1/4 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.


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.



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
    1/4 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.



Yield: Makes 6 servings.
  1-1/2 pounds      rhubarb, trimmed
    3/4 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.



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
    1/2 cup         table grapes, white or red
    1/2 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)
    1/2 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.