COLD SOUP FOR HOT SUMMER NIGHTS!

By Published On: June 27th, 2015Categories: Chicken, Fish, Meals, Soup, Uncategorized0 Comments

Where do I begin…it’s been months since I’ve last talked with you about my passion: FOOD! Now a full time Arizonan I think my menus and ingredients may change a bit. Certainly less fresh fish, but still so much to explore, learn, experiment with, and indulge in.

Our home in Plymouth, MA is sold and we are slowly adjusting to a new way of life. It’s going to be exciting to experience the seasons in southern Arizona…right now, it’s hot so I thought I would offer two cool, refreshing and very easy soups to make for these warm summer evenings…wherever you may be.

WATERMELON GAZPACHO
WITH FETA CHEESE AND MINT

I often go on the internet to search for recipes; read a bunch of different ones and then come up with my own tweaks, which is just what I did here. The beauty is you can make this your own soup by changing the herbs (basil instead of mint); or omitting the cheese; adding more jalapeno or less! This quantity made 4 first-course servings. It would be easy to double or triple if you need a larger quantity, and would work well as a main course with chunky bread and a simple green salad.

Ingredients:
4 cups watermelon, seeded and diced (I bought seedless which made it much easier.)
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
3 baby bell red peppers or 1/2 regular red pepper chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined and chopped
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 Tbsp. EVOO
1/2 tsp. (or more to taste) salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
Mint-about 3 Tbsp. in the soup and then more for garnish
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. white honey ginger balsamic*
Additional chopped watermelon and cucumber for topping
Feta Cheese for topping

Preparation:
Put all ingredients (except those you are saving for topping) in a food processor or blender and blend in batches. Taste to adjust flavors. I like the combination of flavors in this soup: sweet, spicy and refreshing.  I think next time I would add a little more shallot.

Both the Persian Lime Olive Oil used in the next recipe and the White Honey Ginger Balsamic came from a little shop in Soniota, AZ called Skye Island Olives and
Grapes. They have a wonderful variety of infused oils and vinegars…and a large ‘tasting room’. Check them out: http://skyeislandoliveandgrapes.com/

Don’t over-blend the ingredients. A little chunky gives the soup some character. Chill a few hours or overnight. Garnish with the extra watermelon, cuke, and feta cheese. How easy is that?!

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I made the Watermelon Gazpacho for my friend Tobi as a first course, followed by a smoky and lightly curried chicken salad on bed of mixed greens  dressed with citrus vinaigrette. Blanched asparagus, hardboiled eggs, and potato salad with heart-healthy dressing completed the salad! Very filling, but all good for you!

And the next recipe is equally easy!

 
COLD CUCUMBER SOUP

Ingredients:
4 cucumbers, 3 peeled and coarsely chopped; 1 peeled and diced for garnish
5 ice cubes
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup Persian Lime oil (or other citrus oil, grape seed or avocado oil)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 Tbsp. shredded mint leaves, plus little sprigs for garnish
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup Plain Greek yogurt (I used the one Bobby Flay pushes, Fage 2%. I like it much better than Chobani.)
More Plain yogurt for topping

Preparation:
In a blender combine all ingredients except what you’re using for topping/garnish. Do not over blend. Chill in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Serve with additional cukes, a dollop of plain yogurt and the mint sprig. So easy and so delicious!

Even on a hot summer night it’s always good to finish with something sweet. If you like the combo of peanut butter and chocolate, you will love these cookies.

CHEWY CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups white flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups peanut butter chips

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl add melted butter and sugar. Beat well. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well again. In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture. Add peanut butter chips. Drop by big, rounded tsp. onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to completely cool. As the cookies cool they will form those lovely cracks of chewy goodness!

Feels so good to be back in the blogging saddle.
More to come…I promise.
Until then enjoy the full harvest of summer using as many fresh fruit and vegetable combinations as you can imagine!
Our grapes are starting to ripen.
Thank goodness the leaf cutters eat only the leaves and not the fruit!

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