Editor’s Note: Ah, Wednesday. Yummy day. Family chef Sarah Stromquist is here today offering up some tasty insight into Summer soups. delish.
Anytime of year soups are a wonderful way to enjoy a healthy and generally quick meal. Paired with a wrap, sandwich or some such delight they become a full meal.
But I usually think of soups as a comfort food or as a cold day meal.
In the heat we have been experiencing and my lack of desire to be cooking over a hot stove, soups have come to be a great alternative that I cook up early in the morning and save, making enough to last a few days and/or freeze for future use.
I use up a lot of my garden veggies in soups and am in constant search for new recipe ideas to refresh the family menu.
There are definitely some personal favorites, my stand by’s and the plain healthy ones, but lately I have been looking for tasty simple and easy soups that we all can enjoy on a hot Summer night.
I have exhausted all my great cooking reference books so I have taken to scouring my friends’ recipe book shelves and have come up with quite an array of what I think are fabulous summer soups.
Here are a few of my new favorites to share.
When I think of summertime soups I inevitably envision cucumber soup. I had never had it before so I finally whipped some up and it was pretty much how I thought it would be, a tasty and thinner version of tzatki. It went really well with some kabobs and naan.
Chilled Cucumber Soup:
Place 2 medium sized cucumbers, peeled and grated finely, into a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tsps salt. Let sit for about an hour, Rinse under cold water, drain and pat dry with a cotton towel to remove as much water as possible.
Place 2 cups plain yogurt in a separate larger bowl and stir in 2 cups cold water. Add 1 clove chopped garlic and ½ cup toasted, chopped almond. Mix well. Add drained cucumbers, season with salt and pepper and 1 ½ tsp olive oil to yogurt mix and blend all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
I found this recipe in one of Uncle D’s cookbooks he had on his shelf and thought it would work well with fish tacos or notchos. I enjoy a well made Taco Soup but needed a new hit for Mexican night. This is just the substitute I was looking for and you can easily spice it up.
Cut 2 perfectly ripe avocados in half and scoop out the flesh into a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup chicken stock, 2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro, 1 tsp salt (or to taste) and the juice of a fresh lime.
Run mixer/ blender until the puree is smooth and slowly add 1-2 cups more of chicken stock until desired consistency is obtained. Add any spiciness you’d like at this point, maybe ancho chilies or jalapeno. Chill for at least an hour. Sprinkle with green onion or chopped pepper as a garnish and enjoy.
We have been so lucky this year with all the fruits and veggies getting a real growing boost from the weather. We have a freezer full of strawberries and so this recipe is a great way to use up some berries for a nice snack or serve with ice cream and/or a cookie for a dessert.
Crush 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries in a food processor. Some small pieces should remain. Pour into a medium saucepan and add 1 ½ cups water and 2 tbsps sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil stirring often. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes and skim off any foam that may form on the surface.
Stir in 2 tbsps of corn starch into 2 tbsps fresh orange juice and add to strawberry mixture. Simmer until it thickens slightly.
Serve soup warm or chilled.
Try using blueberries or peaches for a variation.
It is almost humorous this time of year as you listen to any gardener talk about zucchinis and their over abundant supply. About all the ways they have been preparing their bounty in any new way possible to enjoy the fruits of their labor. There are the usual innuendos and subtle dismay at the amount of work needed to process a hefty harvest in hopes of making the garden goodness last through out the year.
I am no different. Dare I say that I am almost tired of zucchini?
This recipe is super yummy and makes me wish I had fresh zucchinis all year.
Place 4- 6 inch, or equivalent, zucchinis thinly sliced, into a large pot. Also add 3 sliced medium onions, 1 small chopped green pepper, 2 chopped cloves garlic and 1 litre chicken stock. Then add ½ each dried tarragon and basil.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Puree in a food processor and return to pot. Add ½ heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste.
Such a satisfyingly easy soup that tastes like you spent hours preparing it.
My tomatoes are just starting to ripen and I am in for a huge harvest. I made this recipe up and I loved how it turned out. Today it was a hit as a dip for grilled apple and cheese sandwiches.
Roasted Tomato Soup:
Take as many tomatoes as you need to process, ( I used about 5 cups for this recipe) and put into a large bowl. Chop 4 cloves of garlic (or to taste) and place into the bowl. Pour in 3 tbsps olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and toss tomatoes and garlic until evenly coated.
Bake on a rimmed cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until skins start to burst open.
Place roasted tomatoes and garlic into a food processor with a fresh sprig of basil.
Blend until pureed and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into serving dishes and serve immediately.
I leave the skins on and so this soup has a bit of texture. If you were finicky you could peel them after they were roasted.
I hope you enjoy being creative with soups this month. Let me know what you have tried.