Cooking Cove: Cold soups for summer slurping

Cooking Cove: Cold soups for summer slurping

Cold Cherry Soup

By Barbara Beltrami

Come hot humid weather when I’m feeling wilted and cranky and badly in need of a pick-me-up, I love a bowl or mug of cold summer soup made from the season’s freshest produce.  Usually not much more than pureed veggies or fruits with perhaps the addition of a little cream or yogurt, summer soups are filling, cooling and  revitalizing and often ridiculously low in calories. While you may be familiar with popular gazpachos, borschts or vichyssoises here are some off-the–beaten-track recipes that are among my favorites. Although like smoothies in consistency but minus the supplements, they may not be quite as nutrient-packed but they’re still oh, so good for you.

Cold Cherry Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

5 cups boiling water

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup red wine

Pinch of salt

Grated zest of half a lemon

1 1/2 pounds fresh dark sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted

1 cup plain yogurt

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot combine the water, sugar, wine, salt and lemon zest; boil 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, add cherries, cover and simmer 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool for 5 more minutes. In large bowl gradually whisk yogurt with one cup of juice from cherries until smooth; slowly whisk or stir in the rest of the cherries and the liquid; stirring occasionally, let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until cold. Stir before serving. Serve as an appetizer or dessert with fresh fruit.

Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta Cream

YIELD: Makes 5 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

3 to 4 cups watermelon cubes, seeds removed

1 large fresh ripe tomato, chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

In blender or food processor puree watermelon, tomato, cucumber, jalapeno, oil and vinegar till smooth. Season with salt and pepper; cover and chill several hours. In small bowl, vigorously mash feta and combine with sour cream; whisk in milk; add salt and pepper if needed. When ready to serve, pour gazpacho into bowls or mugs and garnish with feta cream.

Curried Yellow Zucchini Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large yellow zucchini,  chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons curry powder or to taste

1 teaspoon ground coriander or to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 quart chicken stock

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add zucchini, onion, curry powder,  coriander, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are very tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, then simmer covered until squash pieces completely lose their shape, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then puree until very smooth. Chill at least 4 hours. Garnish with yogurt and cilantro leaves and serve cold with naan or chapatis.

Cold Cauliflower Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

6 cups chicken broth

1 large sprig fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup cream

1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup snipped chives

DIRECTIONS:

In large pot over medium heat, warm oil; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, till soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add cauliflower, garlic, broth, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil; lower heat to simmer and cook till cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minute. Remove thyme and discard. Let soup sit to cool for 10 minutes, then puree in food processor till very smooth; stir in cream and chill at least 8 hours, overnight if possible. When ready to serve garnish with parsley and chives. Serve with a chilled dry white wine.

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