It’s the dog days of summer. It’s hot. It’s sticky. How many chef and tuna salads can your family eat before they say, “Enough”?
If that happens at your house, we’d like to recommend that you give cold soups a chance. If you’ve never had them, you’ll be delighted by their fresh flavors and their versatility. From the appetizer tray to the dessert plate, cold soups add a new dimension to your menus.
This is especially a good time with all of the fresh fruits and vegetables you’ll find at The Purple Onion and farmers market stands around the state. And before we go any further with this, don’t expect a gazpacho recipe here! We’re offering some different variations that we think will surprise you.
As a general rule, cold soups tend to be lighter than winter soups. They often contain less fat and meat per serving. Many use light stocks — chicken or fish — but you can easily switch to a vegetable stock if you prefer. Yogurt is often used to thicken cold soups.
Depending on your meal plan, you can serve cold soups in traditional soup bowls or switch it up and serve them in glassware or cups. As appetizers, they make a great starter and can be pared with crudites, crostini or your favorite antipasti tray.
For dessert, consider serving a beautiful cold soup in those lovely china coffee cups that you never use. Set up a dessert buffet with some cookies or pound cake and fresh fruits.
Whatever you decide to try, be sure to start with the freshest ingredients you can purchase. Be sure to keep them chilled before serving.
For an interesting first-course cold soup at your next Mexican fiesta, give the Cucumber and Jalapeno Yogurt Soup a try. This bright and tangy soup can be made ahead and it’s just the right combination of creamy and spicy.
For dinner, consider the Jade Garden Soup. It’s the cool summer version of the everything-in-the-pot steaming vegetable soup you love in the winter. Make it ahead the night before or in the morning. Then just pull it out of the refrigerator to serve.
It’s a great time for peaches and they make a lovely summer soup. Here’s a recipe that can be switched up to be savory or sweet. If you make it for dessert, serve it with gingersnaps for a tangy contrast to the sweet fruit.
Mint adds a cool and refreshing taste to many dishes. And while some people think of it for sweet tea and sweet dishes, it can add a bright note to savory dishes as well. There are many variations of this herb: Apple mint has a fruity taste, peppermint has a strong taste and bergamot is perfumy. Mint is used for culinary, medicinal and even cosmetic purposes.
Gardeners will tell you to plant mint where it can roam, because it certainly will. If you need to contain it, place your mint plant in a large pot. Frequent cutting keeps mint pretty and green.
Fresh is best when it comes to mint but dried or frozen are not bad. Carefully pick the leaves, clean and dry them before freezing or setting in a dry, cool place to dry completely.