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Culinary Central

Take the Heat Off: Summertime Soups

September 18, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu St. Louis 0 Comments

The 4th of July may be behind us, but the summer is still heating up. And now that we’re facing the hottest part of the season, we’re all looking for ways to beat the heat. We hit the swimming pool, run through the lawn sprinkler, and camp out in front of the air conditioner. Our favorite way, however, is by chilling out with some cool summertime food and drink.

Who Says It Has to Be Hot?

When you think of cool summertime fare you may imagine ice cream, popsicles, lemonade, iced tea, and seasonal fruits like watermelon. But what about soup? Yes, soup. It may be famous for fighting the common cold and chasing away a winter chill, but soup can also be a way to beat the summer heat. Cold soups are delicious, refreshing, and a great way to use those delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables of summer.

Some summer soups require the fruits and vegetables to be cooked before pureeing and chilling to concentrate the flavors. Others only need some handiwork with a knife and cutting board.

Gazpacho and More

You may be familiar with gazpacho and vichyssoise, but there are many other cold soups that will bring a smile to your face and remove the sweat from your brow.

Chilled Watermelon Soup
High in antioxidants like beta carotene and lycopene, watermelon is both nutritious and delicious. This light and refreshing soup features a hint of mint, ginger, white wine, and feta cheese.

Strawberry Balsamic Soup
There are few things better than when your grocer’s produce aisle fills up fresh, locally-grown strawberries, and this soup lets you take advantage of the bounty. The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and strawberries is balanced by the yogurt. A bright and delicious garnish of macerated strawberries and sprig of mint top of this cool refresher.

Chilled Blueberry Soup
As you might expect, this wonderful soup is a bit on the tart side, but still and excellent first course for a meal of grilled meats and vegetables. The blueberries are boiled down to concentrate their rich flavor. Sour cream adds additional richness and a velvety texture. After chilling, the mixture is served in a bowl containing whole blueberries.

Gazpacho
If you’ve ever made salsa or pico de gallo, then you’ve practically already made gazpacho. The list of ingredients is very simple: tomato, cucumber, green pepper, garlic, olive oil, and a little vinegar. Once the puree is made you can dice more of the vegetables and use as a garnish along with croutons or a crusty, rustic bread.

Vichyssoise
It may be difficult to pronounce but this hearty and delicious potato soup is beyond words. Starting out as a traditional potato leek soup, the ingredients are cooked and then passed through a food mill to create a fine texture. After seasoning and chilling overnight it should be served cold with fresh chives.

Use Your Imagination

A quick look through your cookbooks or online will produce these and many other excellent ideas for beating the summer heat. Other popular cold soup ingredients include cherries, plums, pumpkins, pears, yogurt, and zucchini. Don’t stop there. Use your imagination to come up with your own great summer soup refreshers.

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