Posted June 3, 2014 03:28 pm - Updated June 4, 2014 10:05 am
with cool soups for warm days
Cold vegetable and fruit soups are refreshing on warm days and make a terrific accompaniment or first course at lunch. Vichyssoise (pronounced vee-shee-swahz), a creamy soup containing potatoes and leeks, is the most well-known of cold soups, but over the decades – since vichyssoise made its appearance nearly 100 years ago – in 1915 – other cold soups, made with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, have also become popular as good ways to stay cool when warmer weather arrives. Cold soups are concentrated and rich and, if cream is added, a luxury that should be consumed in small portions. You will note that today’s recipe for Cucumber-Potato Soup, calls for using the entire cucumber. The whole cucumber, you’re thinking? Yes, the whole thing and don’t be skeptical – it works – with the cooked skin and seeds blending smoothly into a creamy kind of cucumber vichyssoise. The blueberry and cantaloupe soups here are equally luscious – and beautifully colorful, too. If you make both of these soups at the same time, feel free to place a dollop of either soup on to the other, lightly swirling the top with a toothpick for some really cool color effects. And, if you are counting calories, whenever heavy cream is called for in a recipe, you can either go for less of the real stuff (my preference), or try healthier alternatives such as evaporated milk made with skim milk, or low-fat buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. Warmer weather has arrived and it will just get warmer from here, so get your soup on – and stay cool.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scallion Vichyssoise with Curry
1½ cups finely diced raw potato
½ cup sliced scallions, including some of the green part just above the bulb end of the scallions
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed to thin soup
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon curry powder
1 cup cream, optional
Chopped chives for garnish
Place the potatoes, scallions, peas and chicken stock in a saucepot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in curry. Cool. Place mixture in a blender and blend, in batches, until smooth. Chill mixture thoroughly. When ready to serve, mix in cream, if desired. Garnish with chopped fresh chives.
Makes 6 servings.
2 cups diced cantaloupe, plus more for garnishing soup
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional
Toasted almonds, optional
Heavy cream, optional
Fresh mint for garnish
Purée the cantaloupe with orange juice, lemon juice, almond extract (if using) and salt until smooth. Press through a fine mesh sieve, then refrigerate until very cold, about 2 hours. Before serving, stir in a bit of cream, if desired, garnishing with a few pieces of chopped cantaloupe and mint leaves.
Makes 4 servings.
Kitchen Ade note: if using almond extract, garnish with toasted, sliced almonds, as desired.
Chilled Fresh Blueberry Soup
3 cups fresh blueberries (1½ pints)
3 cups water
½ cup granulated sugar (if blueberries are very sweet, adjust the amount of sugar used)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 (3-inch) piece cinnamon stick
1 pint plain (or vanilla) low-fat yogurt
Heavy cream, for garnish
In large saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine blueberries, water, sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, then remove cinnamon stick. Cool. Pour blueberry mixture, in batches, into the container of blender. On medium speed, blend until smooth. Pour blended mixture into a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Before serving, stir in yogurt, mixing well. Top each serving of soup with a tablespoon, or two, of heavy cream, swirling into a decorative pattern. Makes 6 to 8 servings.