Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Chilling Out with Refreshing Chilled Soup

The last thing I wanted to do was turn on the stove when the temperature hit 90 degrees for the fourth day in a row. The house was already uncomfortably warm, and even with the AC unit in the upstairs window cranking on high and fans buzzing all over the house, the effort to create something like a wind chill effect felt more like a sirocco on the Sahara.

I could tell that crankiness was right around the corner, so taking inspiration from Mark Bittman's article on gazpacho in the NYT, I decided to turn that sweaty frown upside down with a chilled vegetable soup. Eschewing the idea of steaming or sautéing anything beforehand, I decided to try my luck with raw ingredients. A minimum of chopping, a bit of time in the blender and dinner was ready.

Very refreshing served with sliced heirloom tomatoes and a dry white wine, I was almost able to imagine myself dining poolside in the tropics.

Chilled Cucumber, Avocado and Fennel Soup

2 cucumbers, seeded
1 avocado, peeled and seed removed
1 fennel bulb, cored and quartered
1/4-1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 c. water
1/2 c. sour cream or tofu sour cream
1, 1" slice day-old artisan bread, crusts removed and cut in 1/2” cubes
Salt to taste

Place half of the cucumbers, avocado, fennel bulb, onion, garlic, lemon water and sour cream in a blender. Blend until mixture is thoroughly puréed. Add half of bread cubes and continue to blend until it is a smooth mixture. Add salt to taste. Pour into large mixing bowl. (At this point you can taste and adjust amount of onion, etc., for the other half of the soup.) Repeat with second half of ingredients. Stir to combine. Can be refrigerated (or not) before serving.

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