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.
CHILLED CUCUMBER HONEYDEW SOUP
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
EMERIL LAGESSE’S COLD CUCUMBER SOUP
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
COLD SQUASH SOUP
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
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.
After all of this is blended together, place in the refrigerator until chilled. Before serving, top each portion with a little chopped basil.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.