Quick & Easy|
By Beverly Barbour
Cool soups for hot days
Nobody thinks about eating soup on a hot summer day but that is exactly when a cold soup comes to a hot body's rescue. Most cold soups are quick and easy to make and very nice to ladle out for a quick lunch or for a first course when company comes on a hot summer night.
A thing or two about cold soups:
1. Soups, which are perfectly seasoned when hot, may taste bland when chilled. Always check before serving.
2. To chill soup, place in an uncovered container in the refrigerator until cool, then cover and chill at least 2 hours.
3. For maximum flavor, take cold soups out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving.
If you say 'cold soup' to most people the one that is certain to come to mind is the famous soup from Spain, gazpacho. Actually, gazpacho is to cold soups as meat loaf is to Americans; everybody has their own favorite recipe. This version is quick to put together because most of the ingredients are waiting for you in containers at the supermarket or deli counter. Fire roasted salsa adds depth of flavor in this fat-free version. You can buy it in most markets but if you can't find it, any salsa can be used. The garnish isn't necessary but it is a nice touch. When you are entertaining, pass the colorful garnish mixture and the croutons to let guests help themselves.
1 large English cucumber, or use two regular cucumbers and remove seeds
Soup: Working in 2 batches and using on/off turns, finely chop peeled cucumber and bell pepper in food processor. Add 2 cups tomato juice and remaining ingredients, blend to a coarse puree. Season to taste with salt. Cover and chill 2 hours for flavor to develop. Mix in more tomato juice by 1/4-cupfuls if too spicy.
Garnish: Brown the bread cubes in the oil with garlic. Top portions with croutons and the remaining ingredients. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Chili-Orange Avocado Soup
This cool green soup will wake up the orneriest appetite but you can't make it too far ahead.
2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
Place avocados, lime juice, chilies and garlic in food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add yogurt, milk, salt, pepper, zest and juice. Process until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled. Taste and add more salt if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Persian Carrot Soup
This pretty soup is lifted out of the ordinary by the presence of fresh mint. Men like it because it is filling and a nutritious meal, especially when served with a fresh green salad.
2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in eggplant and parsley and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add 8 cups water, celery, carrots and potatoes. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Let cool. In batches, puree the soup in a food processor. Refrigerate until cold. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with mint before serving. Makes 4 servings.
Jump in the soup kettle to cool off!