Cool Cucumber Soup with Herbed Cucumber Relish (DF)

 photo IMG_0726.jpgI have cucumbers coming out of my ears – and no Big Brothers, I did not eat a seed. I can only assume that our relatively cool Maryland summer has delayed the usual onset of powdery mildew (which has now arrived and I’m combatting according to Big Sis’ suggestion) long enough for my cucumber plants to go bananas, so to speak. I’ve regularly been harvesting not just 1 or 2, but anywhere from 6 to 16 (yes, I said 16) delicious cukes from my 4 cucumber plants. What variety is doing so well in my not very well tended garden? I have no idea. Seed mixups are a real bummer. I digress.

In order to take advantage of my cuke bounty, we’ve been experimenting with some things, and I’ll share more of them over the next few weeks before it snows and puts an end to this whole summer bounty thing. Today, while it is relatively hot, I’ll share a lovely cooling use for all those wonderful cukes.

If you’ve been playing along for a while, you already know how I feel about Deborah Madison. In addition to my Deborah Madison cooking bible, I have a slimmer volume dedicated only to soups, because I really like soup. In this beautifully produced and photographed cookbook, there are a few cool soups perfect for beastly weather. Last night I was inspired by her Cool Cucumber Soup, although as usual I was compelled to make some changes. At any rate we had an 85% approval rating (meaning Picky Pants initially enjoyed it and changed her mind later). So, for all you cucumber lovers, or just those of you who like the sound of an easy cooling meal made from the most abundant veggie out there right now…

Cool Cucumber Soup with Herbed Cucumber Relish (DF) adapted (and made larger and milder) from Deborah Madison’s version in Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen(serves 4)

Soup

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  • 2 pounds cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 c cashew cream (here, from our lovely friend Annie) or yogurt or sour cream
  • 3/4 c herbs (I used dill, basil, and parsley to great effect
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest and juice of 1 1/2 lemons

Relish

  • 1 pound cucumbers
  • 2 T chopped scallions
  • 1 T dill
  • 2 T chopped basil and parsley
  • 2 t olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Peel and seed the cucumbers – dice 1/3 of them (or one pound) and set aside for the relish. While I often recommend skipping peeling and such, in this case I peeled to remove the bitterness sometimes in the skins. Coarsely chop remaining cukes and place in blender with the rest of the ingredients for the soup. Blitz until smooth. Place in fridge to chill. Yes, that’s it. No, I’m not joking.

Just before serving, combine ingredients for relish in bowl and stir. Done. No muss, no fuss, no cucumbers wasted. Delish. Happy super late summer!

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Beet Soup – Ruby Goodness

As a child I loved pickled beets.  Now I have moved away from childish things… actually I’ve just never purchased pickled beets as an adult and I always end up roasting any beets that I’ve managed to coax from the soil.  Beets are oh so companionably roasted with sweet potatoes and other little colorful potatoes.  Anyway, it was nice to expand the beet repertoire with this simple, easy and nourishing use of beets found at Health, Home & Happiness

Being rebels with poor planning skills, we ate this ‘Cold Beet Soup’ hot for dinner and then cold the next day.  I thought it was delicious both ways, and once again, my 11 year old gave a thumbs up to a food that I thought would be stretching the envelope of his tolerance.  Either he is growing so fast that he’s starving and will eat anything, or his palate is broadening with age.  Or maybe this stuff is just really yummy!!

And don’t throw the beet greens away!  I like to saute them (and anything else not tied down) in a little olive oil and garlic!  Or follow these directions or braising beet greens: http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/shine-food/cooking-beet-greens-155600995.html

Cold Beet Soup

4 medium beets, peeled and chopped (I peel the part of the beet that is hardened and dirty looking)
4 carrots, peeled and chopped (I am BiggSis and I never met a carrot that I wanted to peel)
3 cups stock, or more to thin the soup as desired
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper -optional
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped -optional (I did not use dill)
2 cloves garlic – add more to taste
Cultured cream, to serve (I used goat cheese, and Little Sis came up with a vegan sour cream that would be great I think!)

Directions for cold beet soup:
Place the beets, carrots, and stock in a crock pot.

Cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, until the beets are soft. Add remaining ingredients and puree in a food processor or blender. Add more stock to thin as desired.

Ruby Soup – there’s no place like bowl… there’s no place like bowl….there’s no place like bowl

Chill well and serve topped with yogurt or cultured cream as desired.

Lunch the next day. How I love leftovers!

Enjoy my friends!  (And hey check out the picture of the food actually on the plate, semi-artfully arranged!  I must have not been starving that day.)

http://www.healthhomehappy.com/2011/07/cold-beet-soup.html