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Old 27-07-2005, 09:03 PM
Bob (this one)
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Default Cold soups for a hot summer

A piece I wrote a while back.

Soup is one of the first casualties of the summer. We’ll look at
several real soups, a few inauthentic but wonderful other, um, soups and
some variations you can choose to suit yourself. The finish is an
amazing, two-color, cold tomato soup.
Here's the easiest one and it really isn't a soup at all. See what I
mean about inauthentic? Technically, it's a seasoned vegetable puree
and it has a wonderfully clean flavor. You can change ingredients and
quantities to suit yourself. The traditional garnish is chopped veggies
or hard-cooked eggs.

Serves 4
3 large tomatoes, seeded
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small bell pepper, seeded and cut into pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 cups tomato juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 stalk celery, strings removed
Put everything in a blender or processor and twirl smooth. You might
need to do it in several batches. Chill. Serve in chilled bowls. A
nice fruity white wine and French bread fills it out.
Variations? Yellow tomatoes. Chilled shrimp or lump crabmeat added as
garnish. A dash of fresh carrot juice. A splash of white wine. Or,
almost completely changing the subject but still making a puree,
processed avocado thinned with chicken stock, some lime juice and creme
fraiche or yogurt and garnished with crumbled blue cheese.

The classic recipe calls for leeks, and I often use them, but I prefer
use a mix of onions and garlic, both for the flavor and ease of
preparation. The name is pronounced vee-she-swaz. with a zzzzzz sound at
the end.
Serves 6 to 8
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, mashed and very finely minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups chicken stock (or 2 cups water and two bouillon cubes)
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
dill or other fresh herb to garnish
In saucepan large enough to hold everything, saute onions in butter over
medium heat for about 10 minutes adding garlic for the last 5 minutes or
so. Add potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and
reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are
on the verge of falling apart. Process the soup until smooth in a
blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients mixing well.
Chill and serve with fresh herb garnish.
Variations? Sure. Serve it with a chicken stock ice cube as garnish.
Add some grilled shrimp, or add some wilted arugula for a pleasant,
bitter note. One I did years ago - a version substituting sweet
potatoes, red Bermuda onions and a handful of radicchio - was interesting.

Summertime, when I was a kid, meant cold tomato soup at my Sicilian
grandparents’ house. Fresh tomatoes chopped with cucumbers, onions,
sweet and hot peppers and some fresh herbs mixed with oil, vinegar and a
squeeze of lemon. They cooked theirs and then chilled it. This is my
updated version; a puree rather than a cooked soup. If you keep the
tomatoes separate during processing and handling, you can mix them at
the end for a visually striking dish.
Serves 4 to 6
4 large red tomatoes
4 large yellow tomatoes
1 small cucumber
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, seeded, diced
1 small hot cherry pepper, seeded, diced (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Keep red and yellow tomatoes separate. Process the two colors of
tomatoes separately through a food mill putting the two colors of puree
into separate bowls and discarding the seeds and skins. Combine the
remaining ingredients, divide in half and add to red tomatoes in one
bowl and yellow tomatoes in the other. The soup should be a slightly
thick because of the breadcrumbs. If you’d like it thicker, add more
crumbs. Refrigerate for at least two hours. To plate for service, use
two ladles, one in each hand, scooping up equal amounts of each soup and
pouring simultaneously from opposite sides of a bowl. Sometimes, my
grandmother garnished the soup with grated lemon zest sprinkled on top.
Other times, she’d put a dollop of sour cream in the middle.

There are a few basic techniques used for these soups. Some are like
the Gazpacho above in that they're pureed fruit with other flavors.
Others are fruit in a cooked, thickened liquid base, usually juice and
often cream. They all work wonderfully with a few mint leaves for garnish.

Any fruit that can be handled like strawberries this way will work.
Serves 4
2 pints strawberries, hulls removed
1 cup white wine
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
I teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
Blend. Chill. Serve.

Serves 4
1 pound sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn starch
sour cream to garnish (about 3/4 cup)
Put cherries into a measuring container and fill with water to make a
quart. In a saucepan, add all except cream and bring to a boil. Cover
and simmer for 25 minutes. Blend, chill, serve with a dollop of cream
on top.

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