Spend Less, Eat Better: Cool Down ... With Soups
Cool soups aren’t an oxymoron and needn’t be limited to gazpacho, although with ripe tomatoes overflowing farmers markets that’s the logical way to go. Other varieties come together quickly with some fresh, some prepared ingredients:
Salsa soup, gazpacho’s cousin: Stir a half cup bottled mild salsa (preferably pineapple or peach although black bean works well, too) into a can of premium hearty tomato soup, like Progresso or Healthy Choice. Puree half the mixture in the blender or processor and add back. Chill well and float a spoonful of light sour cream on top.
Almost vichyssoise: Steam 2-3 cups baby spinach leaves (remove stems) until wilted. Puree a can of cream of potato soup with ½ cup, each, milk and buttermilk. Stir in wilted spinach leaves and chopped scallion. Chill several hours.
Melon soup: This favorite demands a ripe, sweet cantaloupe with deep orange flesh, preferably an Athena. Puree about 2 cups cubed melon with 3-4 cups plain lowfat yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey and, for kicks, a dash of hot sauce. Float a paper-thin melon crescent on top. Instead of melon, try ripe, juicy peaches. Play with amounts until you find the preferred consistency. Also nice with ripe honeydew and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice.
Summer pea soup: Cook a package of frozen petite peas in 4 cups light chicken broth for 2-3 minutes. Cool, puree in blender. Stir in enough buttermilk or plain yogurt to impart a creamy consistence. Chill, scatter with mint leaves.
Curried carrot soup: Peel and cut up 1 pound of fresh garden carrots and one medium new potato. Simmer in 4 cups light chicken or vegetable stock until very tender, adding 1 teaspoon curry powder (or less, to taste) during last few minutes. Cool, puree in blender or processor. Stir in ½ cup light cream. Chill several hours or overnight. Serve with finely grated raw carrot on the surface.
A bowl of cool soup, a slice of good bread topped with unsalted butter and paper-thin cucumber slices and on the hottest night, dinner’s done.
Contact Deborah Salomon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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