Last Sunday I visited my friend Stacy Brooks at the Greenbelt Farmers Market where she was demoing “Summer Bumper Crop Soups.” This demo was a great idea, because as us gardeners know, this is the time of year when we have zucchini and other squash, tomatoes and basil coming out of our ears. Stacy had a marvelous solution for market goers – make a delicious chilled soup with your extra produce and herbs. Customers sampled a Chilled Thai Cantaloupe Soup and a Curried Zucchini Soup, both of which were pretty darn tasty. She also shared a yummy recipe for a Raw Tomato Basil Soup. The soups were divine!
Because my awesome neighbor, Sieglinde, left me to care for her garden while on vacation, I was able to harvest many gargantuan zucchini from her garden. So Stacy’s Curried Zucchini Soup was timely! The picture below, doesn’t do the soup justice, mostly because it’s not a very good picture. Hey, I tried.
With Stacy’s permission, I am posting these soup recipes for you to enjoy.
Chilled Thai Cantaloupe Soup
- 3 cups chopped ripe cantaloupe
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh lemon grass
- 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped jalepeno
- 2 teaspoons cilantro
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 can (13 to 14 ounces) light coconut milk
- 1-2 teaspoons soy sauce or fish sauce (or to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
Puree the first 6 ingredients (through cayenne) in food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in coconut milk, soy or fish sauce, and lime juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Chill for at least one hour.
*Topping ideas: chilled shrimp, sesame crackers, chopped peanuts, cilantro sprigs
Curried Zucchini Soup (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced 1 inch thick
- 1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 tablespoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add zucchini, potato, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
In batches, puree soup in a blender (do not fill more than halfway) until smooth, or use an immersion blender to puree soup directly in the pot. Serve immediately, or let cool, and refrigerate in an airtight container until chilled. To chill quickly, place soup in a bowl, and set in an ice-water bath, stirring frequently until cool
Garnish with toasted almonds or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
I added a cup of cooked quinoa to this recipe for added protein.
Raw Tomato Basil Soup
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 1/4 small onion
- 1-2 cloves garlic, smashed into a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8-10 basil leaves, cut in strips
- Olive oil for drizzling
Cut tomatoes in half. Grate the cut side of the tomatoes on a box grater until only the skin remains (be careful!). Put the tomato puree in a bowl. Grate the onion into the bowl. Add the garlic/salt paste and basil. Stir and check/adjust seasonings. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.
*Topping ideas: diced avocado or cucumber.
For additional chilled summer soup ideas, please refer to my Chilled Summer Soups post.
Chilled soups created with fresh fruits and veggies are great for any meal and can accompany a healthy wrap or side salad if you’re in the mood for something more substantial. And of course they alkalize and hydrate the body during the dog days of summer!
When we think of protein, we often think of animal foods. Did you know that pulses, also known as legumes, provide a substantial amount of protein and carbohydrates along with numerous vitamins and minerals? I’m exploring peas (Pisum sativum) today since they are a favorite spring food of mine and plentiful at the local farmers markets. Generally, we enjoy peas as edible-podded sugar snaps, shelled garden peas or snow peas. Of course we can’t forget about those delicious, tender pea shoots, too! Peas can be consumed raw, steamed, sautéed in water or stock, used in a stir-fry or pureed into a dip, smoothie or cold soup. The delicate tendrils or shoots are great in a salad or swirled in a soup.
Now these beautiful spring green pulses pack a mighty punch. They are full of nutrients including vitamin K, C, E and several Bs, beta-carotene manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids in the from of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Rich in antioxidants, peas are anti-inflammatory and have been show to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Their anti-inflammatory benefits can also be helpful in slowing cardiovascular disease.
Like other legumes, peas are rich in fiber and protein which makes them great blood sugar regulators. They are therapeutic for the digestive system and have an affinity for the liver, stomach, spleen and pancreas. One caution: peas ontain purines which can sometimes aggravate gout or kidney stones. So, if you fall into that category, you may have to moderate your pea intake.
Here is one of my favorite spring soups! This version was created by my friend and colleague Ellen Siegel. You can also minimize the water or stock and make it into a wonderful dip and serve it on toasted whole grain baguette or crackers.
Minted Green Pea Soup
- 4-6 cloves of garlic or 1 large shallot, minced and dry roasted
- ½ cup nut milk, yoghurt, crème fraîche, sour cream, heavy cream or half and half
- 1 – 1 ½ cups water or stock or to desired consistency
- 2 sprigs of mint, about 6 inches in total stem length
- 1 pound of frozen petite peas (or fresh, but they must be blanched first)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- strips of fresh mint for garnish and a dollop of yoghurt, crème fraîche or sour cream
- In a medium saucepan (2 1/2 to 3 quart) dry roast garlic and or shallots for a couple of minutes.
- In a blender or food processor, add the peas, water or stock, nut milk or cream, garlic and mint springs and blend/process to a smooth consistency. Add more water or cream as necessary.
- Taste and correct seasoning.
- Chill in the refrigerator and let the flavors meld. You can also heat the soup to serve warm. Serve garnished with crème fraîche and mint strips.
During the my last post, I wrote about the importance of hydration and gave you a few ideas about hydrating beverages. Well, this time I want to touch on how to hydrate through foods! I don’t know about you, but when it’s hot, I hate turning on the stove and the oven. I find myself preparing a fair amount of salads, smoothies and cold soups. The beauty of cold soups is that they are easy to make, hydrating, cooling and pretty darn tasty. Because their base is fruits and vegetables, they are also nutrient-rich. In addition, because many chilled fruit or veggie soups are raw, they are filled with enzymes that promote good digestion.
Some of the fruit soups are particularly delightful because they satisfy that sweet craving and help curb the need for ice cream. Although they are sweet, many recipes call for accessory ingredients such as herbs, hot peppers and ginger to balance the sweetness and lend a savory flavory. Simply a party in your mouth! For added protein and fat, you can always blend in some almond milk, yogurt, sour cream, pureed beans or pureed quinoa.
I am including a link to one of my favorite summer recipes. I love Deborah Madison and I am mad about her delicious Chilled Tropical Melon Soup. Yum!
One of my favorite recipe sites, Foodily.com, had quite an assortment of recipes. Check some of them out below!
Have fun and enjoy.