In the dog days of summer when you sweat by just sitting still, even the idea of turning on the stove makes you feel hotter. Instead you want to stand in front of the open refrigerator door. You desperately wish for any meal that requires no cooking and gives off no heat.
Faced with a juicy tomato and a ripe avocado, I think I should make guacamole. I’ve got limes and tortilla chips and the makings for a margarita too. What’s not to like? But with a little more effort, I can have one of summer’s special delights – a chilled soup. I love soup in all seasons, but a summer soup is special because it’s available for a limited time.
Gazpacho is my go-to. I have a foolproof recipe and I usually double it. Half of the vegetables get diced carefully so that they’ll fit easily on the spoon and look pretty in the bowl. The other half get chunked up willy-nilly because they are going in the blender. As long as they’re not too big, it all smooths out in the whirring. I’ve learned that the onions and garlic should get sauteed before they get blended up so they imbue the “broth”with a great flavor without being too sharp. This soup can be the star of the meal or a starter. It elevates the lowly cheese quesadilla dinner, and rounds out a meal of farmer’s market finds. Even a double batch of the soup seems to disappear quickly.
Another perennial favorite is “no-cook” spaghetti sauce. It’s just chopped tomatoes and onion that rests in the fridge with some oil and vinegar till you have the will to boil a pot of water for the pasta. Toss the chilled vegetables into the hot drained pasta, add basil and /or parsley, top with parmesan cheese, and fight off all other family members while you snarf it all down yourself.
I tried a new chilled soup recently made with avocado, celery, cucumber, broth, a green apple and fresh dill. No careful dicing was required, as all of the ingredients went in the blender. The result was creamy and green and so delicious we didn’t even wait to let it chill, though we did manage to ladle it into bowls and sit down rather than guzzling it at the kitchen island. I may never be able to make guacamole again, it was that good.
School’s starting and I know the hot, sticky days are numbered. I will try to enjoy chilled soup until that first cold snap when I transition to something that warms up the kitchen and my tummy.