A bowl of hot, hardy soup on a cold winter’s evening warms the body, and soup has long been a part of cold weather food. As the weather turns warm don’t discount soup from the menu, though. Serve a bowl of chilled soup to cool the body and refresh the palate.
Sometimes referred to as a liquid salad, gazpacho includes garlic, sweet pepper, and peeled cucumber in a smooth and creamy tomato base. Process the garlic, pepper, and cucumber until mushy, just short of pureed. Chop the tomatoes and process with a bit of olive oil. Add the mashed veggies and drizzle in a bit of vinegar to balance the sweetness. In some recipes, stale bread is soaked in the juices of the chopped tomato and added to the processor. The bread gives the soup added body.
Serve gazpacho cold, chilling it in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. Add a sprig of mint for garnish, or a dollop of mayonnaise. For added zing, sprinkle with some finely chopped onion. This cold soup works well as an appetizer; serve with a plate of cheese and crusty bread.
Cucumber and Pepper Soup with Crabmeat
This summer soup works well as a main course on those nights when a light supper is all that’s needed.
This cucumber soup is made with cucumbers and sweet yellow peppers, but also includes honeydew melon, shallots and jalapeno pepper. The yogurt brings a delightful creaminess to the soup, keeping it light yet filling. The vegetables and melon, along with the yogurt are pureed and chilled for at least one hour. Pass the soup through a sieve if desired.
Just before serving, toss shredded crab meat with a bit of oil and vinegar together in a small bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mound the mixture in the center of the chilled soup along with chopped chives and fresh dill.
Strawberry soup makes a refreshing dessert for summer meals. A basic recipe of pureed strawberries, banana, and orange is simple enough, but if you want a bit of a kick, add grated ginger, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Dress it up with a sprig of mint or scatter a few fresh blueberries across the top for pops of color.
Put this soup in the freezer for a few minutes before serving, and for the adults, add a touch of cherry liqueur.
Tips for Making Cold Soups
The consistency of cold soup may be thick and creamy, but if you prefer a thinner soup add two or three ice cubes to the mixture just before placing it in the refrigerator to chill. The ice melts slowly so it doesn’t dilute the soup’s bright flavors.
To add a bit of smoky flavor to the gazpacho, roast the garlic and let cool before processing. If you don’t like the taste of roasted garlic, but like smoky flavors, roast the pepper instead.
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