I like hearty, main-course soups. In summer, however, the soups are lighter, even if they are the focal point of the meal. I love to go through my favorite cookbooks and try out new soup recipes, modifying any that have meat in them. I have never owned a “soup” cookbook until yesterday when the one recommended to me by my son, David, arrived in the mail. He suggested that I buy “Love Soup” by Anna Thomas and after perusing through it last night, I see why. I like her style and her simple homey approach. I look forward to trying her recipes, soon.
...Meanwhile, I am including in this post my tried and true summer favorites.
If you have a vegetable garden, by now you are inundated with summer squash. The following recipe uses a lot of them and is YUMMY served either warm or cold. The best part is, you don’t have to sauté or peel anything—just throw everything in a pot and cook for half an hour, process, and voila, dinner is ready. In the old days, I had to put the finished soup in batches in my food processor, but a few years ago I finally purchased an immersion blender, which quickly became my FAVORITE kitchen gadget. If you don’t have one, go buy one…they are amazing!
If you are a vegan, use rice milk or coconut milk plus some lemon to give it a little zing.
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WWW’s Cold Zucchini Soup (6 servings)
6 medium-large zucchini, cut into chunks
1 large onion (or two small ones)
1 teaspoon curry powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups buttermilk, yoghurt, or kefir (from humanely raised cows, of course!)
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1. Combine zucchini, onion, broth, curry, and salt in a large soup pot:
2. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until zucchini is soft.
3. Turn off heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth, or transfer to a food processor or blender in batches and puree.
4. Add the buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir (I use goat) and season to taste with salt and pepper (you can add more curry if you like, too).
5. Refrigerate until cold.
This next soup we eat all summer long as the cucumbers are plentiful in my garden. It is so delicious on a hot night and you don’t cook a thing. If you are using the Persian or Japanese cucumbers, you don’t have to seed and peel them. If you use the big fat ones we get in the grocery store, you definitely need to do both. Serve with a nice big fruit salad, a grain salad, and some grilled corn on the cob.
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Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup (Modified from Moosewood)
4 cups peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber
2 cups yogurt
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons fresh mint leaves
1-2 Tbs. honey
1-2 teaspoons fresh dill
1. Puree everything in the blender (or put in a bowl and use the immersion blender). Serve very cold and garnish with dill.
I have two favorite carrot soup recipes. The first one was a staple in our house when the kids were growing up. They loved the orange flavor and it is SUPER EASY. Cooking the onions covered on low for a half hour does something amazing to them. It’s great in winter, too, but I am adding it here because of the light flavor and texture. This soup is heaven in a bowl!!
Carrot and Orange Soup (modified from The Silver Palate)
4 T butter or olive oil
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
2 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
grated fresh orange zest to taste.
1. Melt the butter and add the onions. Cover and cook over low heat about 25 minutes
(onions will be light and tender).
2. Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Process until smooth with an immersion blender
(or in batches in a food processor) and add orange juice.
5. Season with salt and pepper and add orange zest. Serve:
(Here is another great carrot soup, again modified from Moosewood:)
Carrot Ginger Soup
2 lbs carrots, peeled or scrubbed and chopped
4 cups stock
1 ½ tsp salt
Optional: 1 medium potato, chopped (for heartier soup)
½ cup chopped onion
¼ teaspoon cumin
2 T grated ginger
Bring to a boil, carrots, stock, salt, potato, and onion and cumin. Cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Add grated ginger and process until smooth. Stir in 1 cup dairy of your choice (or coconut milk). Chill until cold. Garnish with grated apple. ED: There are lots of variations to this. You can add nutmeg, cinnamon, mint, and even puree it with almonds or cashews for added protein.
*NOTE #1: For those of you looking for a non-dairy means for making creamy soups, my mom (Rebecca’s Nana) just called to tell me she put a big scoop of “Gooey Thomas” (hummus) in a bowl, poured a vegetable soup on top and stirred. She said it was delicious! I bet that would work great with the zucchini soup above. I will let you know next time I make it!
**NOTE #2: You can make your own very cheap vegetable broth with all of the leftover veggies you have in the refrigerator. I call it “compost soup.” You can use carrot tops, the tops of leaks, beet greens, kale stems, parsley stems and leaves, left over bits of onion, carrots, carrot peelings, celery leaves, and any other leftover veggies, even lettuce! I save all of these vegetables in my refrigerator and when I have enough, throw them in a pot with some herbs and some peppercorns, cover with water, and cook for about an hour at a simmer. Strain off all of the solids, cool, and freeze them in packets and use whenever a recipe calls for vegetable broth.
Happy soup to you!