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Market Fresh: Cold soup for hot days


Anne Freeze



A few nights ago at a reception I tasted a bright and fresh-tasting cucumber soup that Fred Kinder had brought. It was served from a pitcher and poured into clear plastic shot glasses. It took me back to a summer day years ago. I don't remember where I was living at the time, but I walked into my mother's kitchen as she was making a little lunch for herself. She enthusiastically told me about the new recipe she had discovered. It was simply buttermilk and a peeled seeded cucumber pureed with some seasoning. She was in heaven.  


Several years ago I had a short-lived, one-season business selling soups made from farmers' market ingredients. It was fun and I enjoyed it until it outgrew my kitchen. What I remember is my friend, Hortense, who bought my soup every week, telling me at the end of the season that she ate every one of them cold! Since it was summer it never occurred to her, she said, to heat them. That was quite a compliment to me as I just assumed that some would be cold (like cucumber or gazpacho) and some would be served hot (vegetable or squash). 


Well, in the spirit of Laura Ann (my mother), Fred and Hortense, following are several cold soup recipes I have found. I'm not sure if the first one is the one Fred used, but it is similar. 






Serves two 




1 cup English cucumber, peeled and chopped 


1 cup ripe honeydew melon, peeled, seeded and chopped 


1/2 cup coconut water 


2 tablespoons lemon yogurt 


2 mint leaves 


Paper thin slices of peeled cucumber and chopped mint for garnish 




  • Blend the cucumber, melon, yogurt and coconut water until smooth, then pour through a strainer to remove any lumps. Put in the fridge to chill. 


  • Chill two bowls. Stir the soup back together (it will separate a little) and pour into the bowls. Top each with thin slices of cucumber and mint and serve. 








    Makes 2 1/2 quarts 




    6 pounds cucumbers (about 6 cucumbers), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (12 cups) 


    2 yellow bell peppers, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped 


    4 green onions, chopped 


    2 jalapeno peppers, minced 


    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro 


    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint 


    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill 


    3 to 4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt 


    2 teaspoons Emeril's Essence Creole seasoning 


    1 1/2 teaspoons salt 


    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 


    3 cups plain yogurt 


    3 cups sour cream, divided 


    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 


    2 teaspoons white wine vinegar 


    2 tablespoons minced fresh chives 




  • Combine the cucumbers, bell peppers, green onions, jalapenos, cilantro, mint, dill, garlic, Creole seasoning, salt, cayenne, yogurt, 2 cups sour cream, olive oil and white wine vinegar in a large bowl. Working in batches, puree the ingredients in a blender until very smooth.  


  • Transfer the soup to the refrigerator until well chilled, at least two hours. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve, with each bowl garnished with a dollop of the remaining sour cream and some of the minced chives. 










    2 cloves garlic, crushed 


    1 large onion, chopped 


    2 tablespoons butter, unsalted 


    6-8 small yellow summer squash, sliced 


    3 cups chicken stock 


    1 cup half and half 


    Dash of nutmeg 


    Salt and pepper, to taste 


    Basil leaves, for garnish 




  • Begin by crushing the cloves of garlic and chopping the onion, and then saute them in unsalted butter. 


  • Once onions begin to turn a golden color, add sliced yellow summer squash. To this mixture, add the chicken stock. 


    Let all of this cook for 20 minutes on medium heat until the squash is tender. Then remove it from the heat and allow to cool before pouring into a blender or food processor to puree. 


  • Add the half-and-half, or whole milk or a combination of the two, then a dash of nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. 


    After all of this is blended together, place in the refrigerator until chilled. Before serving, top each portion with a little chopped basil. 





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