Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cold Soups: Part One

I learned so many good things from my mother-in-law Norma.

Early on in my relationship with Jeremy, I went over to their place for dinner. It was a hot summer day in NYC. The air conditioners were running at full throttle in the apartment.

Norma greeted me warmly. After some pleasantries, she announced that we would be having cold soup for dinner.

I had never heard of cold soup before.

I felt the little jolt that comes from what feels like an experiential non sequitur. It seemed like the very definition of soup was that it was either warm or hot.

Then again, there were plenty of new foods that I tried for the first time with Jeremy's family. Thanks to them, I now loved Chinese cuisine, vegetarian dishes, Kir Royale, and quiche. I'd also discovered traditional Jewish foods like chicken soup with matzo balls and Charoset at Passover.

My response to trying all of this was, where has this food been all my life? I had no reason to think that chilled soup would be any less good than a pie you eat for dinner or cold spaghetti with sesame sauce all over it.

My first bite of cold gazpacho did not disappoint. I had the same feeling about it then that I do now. A good gazpacho is the very essence of summer.

It took one encounter to make me a cold soup convert. My next cold soup was Norma's vichyssoise, as velvety, rich, and luxurious as gazpacho is bracing and tangy.

Later, I became a cold soup aficionado, making them at home every summer. There is something about food that you only make during certain times of the year that gives me another reason to love living in a place with four distinct seasons.

Mark Bittman's Traditional Gazpacho

Over the years, I've tried many gazpacho recipes and this one became my favorite. I make this a couple of times every summer. It gets bonus points for being, easy, refreshing and Weight Watchers friendly. Here's the recipe.

Silky Zucchini Soup
By Grant Achatz, July 2014 Food & Wine Magazine.

This is truly delicious, and since it can be served chilled or warm, multi-seasonal. Zucchini is especially plentiful and fresh at the Farmer's Market in the summer months and lends this soup a gorgeous color. Get the recipe here.

Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives and Cucumbers
By David Chang , September 2014 Food & Wine Magazine

This wonderful, multi textured soup combines elements of a Greek salad with a chilled tomato base. It's become a new summer tradition. Check out the amazing recipe.

Cold Avocado Soup

Avocados are one of my favorite foods so when the concept of starring them in a cold soup came up, I was all over it. The first recipe I tried was rather dull. I hit the jackpot with this one. It manages to be both light and rich tasting at the same time. I probably don't need to remind you how healthy avocados are.

I forgot to buy coconut milk once and substituted Ronnybrook Coconut yogurt. Lovely. This blog is one of my favorites. Here is the recipe.

Jeremy's Vichyssoise.
Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

This is one of Jeremy's specialties. He makes this one every time. Why mess with success? The recipe is here. Jeremy uses leeks instead of onions.

I've tried making many variations on the cold potato leek type soup. I've attempted to find something more friendly to the waistline, then came to the conclusion that this recipe is worth the extra Points Plus. It's what I like to call a worthy splurge.

One summer Norma was going through a challenging time. Jeremy would go to her apartment and make this soup for her. It's a sweet memory.

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