Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hot Days - Cold Soups

Fellow Council Member Jim Ward reminded me about an article I wrote in August 2007 featuring Cold Summer Soups. It's been so hot here in North Carolina, that it is worth sharing again. Enjoy.

Soups are not just for warming up diners when the weather turns brisk, they can also soothe the palate on a scorching summer day. Chilled soups hit the spot when it’s hot and are especially easy if you are entertaining, because you make the soup ahead, cover it, and refrigerate. It is the perfect summer party appetizer, and can be served in many fashions such as in funky glasses, or champagne glasses, as well as small bowls. You can even bring your soup to the pool in a cooler for a light dinner. Chilled soup is tasty, refreshing, and easy to prepare and serve.
Cold potato leek soup, or vichyssoise, made its first appearance on an American menu at New York’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel sometime in the early 1900s. The hotel’s chef, Louis Diat, was originally from Vichy, France.
One version if the story is that Diat, planned to serve a classic, warm potato leek soup for a party celebrating the opening of the hotel’s roof garden. At the last minute, he discovered the soup had not been heated. He added cream and chives, in an attempt to salvage the first course, and vichyssoise was born.
No one actually knows if this is a true story, however, there’s no denying that for many years vichyssoise was the cold soup of choice for most Americans. During the 1960s and ‘70s it was a standard summer menu item in finer restaurants. Today, vichyssoise is just the tip of the cold-soup iceberg.
Try some of my favorite chilled soups or create your own. It’s always best to use locally grown organic vegetables so get out there and visit the Farmers Market to see what is in season.

By Penny Rich
Serves 6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 leeks, white and light green parts, roughly chopped
8-10 white boiling potatoes, roughly chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
Fresh chives for garnish

Heat the butter and oil in a large stockpot; add the leeks, and sauté over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, stock, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and then process with an emersion blender to desired consistency. Add the cream and season to taste. Chill. Serve in a bowl, garnished with chopped chives.

Chilled Beet Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

2 pounds beets, roasted, peel removed and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups buttermilk
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh chives and sour cream

Heat oven to 425•F. Peel beets, chop and toss with olive oil. Place on an oil prepared foil covered tray and roast for 15-20 minutes until tender. Remove and cool.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil, add carrots and onion and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar, cover and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes more. Working in batches, add beets with any roasting liquid, honey, and carrot mixture to blender. Puree. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until cold, To serve, ladle into bowls or mugs. Top with chives and sour cream.

Chilled Cucumber Dill Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 2

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup chilled buttermilk
1/2 cup no fat plain yogurt
2 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill, cut with scissors to fine pieces

In a blender or food processor puree the cucumbers. In a metal bowl whisk the cucumbers with the buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar, oil, and the dill. Salt to taste and chill the soup. Divide the soup between 2 chilled bowls.

Chilled Corn Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 6

6 ears fresh corn, husked*
6 cups vegetable broth
3 shallots, chopped
1 onion, chopped

6 tablespoons crème fraîche
1/4 cup English hothouse cucumber, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Cut each ear of corn crosswise in half. Place corn in heavy large pot. Add the broth, shallots, and onion, bring to boil. Cover, and simmer until corn is very tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer corn to large bowl to cool and reserve the broth.
Cut corn kernels off cobs. Return 4 cups corn kernels to broth. With a hand blender puree soup until very smooth. Strain soup through fine sieve set over large bowl; pressing on solids with back of spoon, discard solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate soup until cold.
Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Top each with dollop of crème fraîche. Sprinkle with cucumber and chives and serve.

*Replace with 4 cups frozen corn

Chilled Beer & Avocado Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

2 tomatoes
3 avocados
10 ounces beer (not a dark beer)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
Juice of one lemon
1/3 cup half and half
Balsamic vinegar
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil, cut an x on the bottom of the tomatoes and plunge them into the water for about 1 minute. Remove tomatoes to a strainer place inside a bowl with ice and water to stop cooking; peel. Cut in half, squeeze out the seeds and cut into small dice.
Peel the avocados, remove the pit and place the halves in a food processor. Add the lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and the half and half. Purée. Add salt and pepper, pulse to mix. Add the beer and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate it. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.

Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Top with a touch of balsamic vinegar and diced tomatoes.

Chilled Spiced Tomato Soup w/Crab
By Penny Rich
Serves 8

Spice mix
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell peppers, chopped
2 fresh fennel bulb, chopped
3 pounds plum tomatoes, diced (about 8 cups)
5 cups vegetable broth

Hot pepper sauce to taste

1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over
Chopped fresh chives

Toast spice ingredients in heavy skillet such as cast iron, over medium heat until spices darken slightly in color and start to pop, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Cool in skillet. Grind finely in spice mill or crush in a mortar and pestle.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables soften slightly, 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and sauté 3-5 minutes. Add bell peppers, fennel and tomatoes, cook until tomatoes soften and break down, about 10 minutes. Add broth and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add ground spice mix remove from heat; cover let sit for one hour.

Working with 2 cups at a time, strain the soup over a large bowl with a sieve pressing liquid and some of solids through sieve. Season soup to taste with hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate soup until cold.

Ladle the soup into 8 shallow bowls or fancy glasses. Top with crabmeat and chives.

Mango Cucumber Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 6

2 mangoes, peeled and pitted
2 seedless cucumbers
3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Place 1 mango in the food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse 4-5 times to finely chop, transfer to a mixing bowl. Do the same with one cucumber and add to the bowl. Coarsely chop remaining mango and cucumber and purée with 1/4 cup water until almost smooth. Transfer to the bowl and add onion, lime juice, and 2 cups vegetable stock. Refrigerate till chilled.
Just before serving, stir in cilantro.

Chilled Pineapple Peach Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 8

1 1/2 pounds fresh peaches
2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Lime slices
Mint leaves

Peel and remove pits from peaches and puree with the pineapple in a food processor until smooth. Add the juices, yogurt, and wine and blend well. Chill until cold. Garnish with thin slices of lime and the mint leaves.

Chilled Melon Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

3 cups honeydew melon, cubed
3 cups cantaloupe, cubed
1/4 cup vodka, divided
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
3/4 cup sliced strawberries

Place honeydew in blender and process until smooth, pour into a bowl. Do the same with the cantaloupe add into a separate bowl. To each bowl of puréed melon, add 2 tablespoons vodka, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons lime juice and stir well. Cover and chill. Place strawberries in blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover and chill.
To serve, pour 1/2 cup of cantaloupe mixture into each of 4 individual glasses, pour 1/2 cup of honeydew mixture in center of cantaloupe mixture. Dollop each serving with 2 tablespoons of puréed strawberries and swirl decoratively with a wooden pick.

Blueberry Yogurt Soup
By Penny Rich
Serves 4

1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 pint blueberries
4 tablespoons honey
4 cups orange juice
1 cup plain low fat yogurt

Put the lemon rind, cinnamon, and cloves in a small cheesecloth bag and place in a heavy saucepan. Add all other ingredients except the yogurt and simmer over moderate heat until the blueberries burst. Remove the bag of spices. Puree the mixture in a blender. Cover and chill overnight. Serve in individual bowls with the yogurt heaped in the center of each serving.


Ronnie said...

love all of these- will try some too

virginiasaam said...

Sound great! Have some cucumbers that need to be used.