June 23, 2009

Cool is a Cucumber: The Argument for Cold Soup

The greatest gift my mother ever gave me was soup. Cold soup, to be specific. For those of you nonbelievers out there who think cold soup is unnatural (like my boyfriend), a scenario: imagine that it's summer in the South, where simply walking can make you break into a full sweat. The air is heavy and thick, and you just. want. something. cold. You know you need to eat something, but the thought of eating any food that might make you hot is too much to handle. Wouldn't it be nice if you could eat something refreshing? That's where cold soup comes in.

There are cold soups to fit any mood:
My favorite cold soup (not to mention the first recipe I ever memorized) is my mother's Cucumber Soup recipe. It's healthy, fresh, and really, really pretty. It's also the perfect summer soup; in our family, the first batch of Cucumber Soup marks the unofficial beginning of summer. I've included the recipe below, but encourage you to add/change/subtract as much as you want (do keep the cucumbers though...they're kind of the whole point).

Cucumber Soup
  • Three cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • One half of a white onion, chopped
  • Chicken or vegetable stock to taste (I recommend 12-16 oz.)
  • One medium-sized container of sour cream
  • Dill (preferably fresh, to taste)
  • Celery Salt (to taste)
  • Optional add-ins: mint, cilantro, more onion, yogurt...the list goes on

1. Place cucumbers and onion in a food processor with a generous dollop of sour cream, and blend. Some prefer their soup very smooth, others prefer it kind of chunky (a word I hate). It's your call.
2. If you've got a large food processor, add the whole can of stock and blend. If your food processor is small, you may want to wait and stir it in once the mixture is in the bowl, so you don't have a giant mess. Food processors are not fun to clean.
3. Add celery salt and dill to taste. I add a lot. (My name is Kitt, and I'm a saltaholic).
4. Pour mixture into a bowl, and be sure to taste it before refrigerating to be sure that the flavor is just right.
5. Serve in chilled bowls with a garnish of fresh dill on the top.
6. Listen for the "oohs" and "ahs." Take a bow.

Of course, there
are people out there who hate cucumbers, and/or cold soup. Do not invite them over.

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