By Gretchen Powell
I’ve just returned from a week-long vacation in Cabo San Lucas, where the water is clear, the food is delicious, and the sun is outrageously strong. While I managed to avoid getting sunburned to a crisp, the heat did almost get the best of me once or twice. And while I was more than happy to indulge myself with a few delectable shrimp tacos during the week, I did notice that the heat seriously affected my appetite.
I guess when it’s that hot and humid out, your stomach just doesn’t have the willpower to expand as much as it usually does. Which is why I actually found myself craving a very specific type of food on those hottest of days: chilled soup.
Of course, chilled soup is not exactly a dish typically found in the Baja Peninsula, so I had to wait until I could whip up a bowl or two on my own. And since we’re entering into what is typically the hottest part of the year for the DMV area, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for whipping up some easy, delicious, and healthy summertime soups. Try these ones out for size, or create your own!
Blend together 6 plum tomatoes, 2 green onions, ¼ small white or red onion, ½ large peeled cucumber, and a red bell pepper with ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt & pepper to taste! For a kick, throw in some deseeded jalapeños.
For a fruity and refreshing twist, substitute the tomatoes found in traditional gazpacho out for watermelon. Use the recipe above, but substitute four cups of cubed watermelon for the tomatoes, use lemon juice instead of the vinegar, and add two tablespoons of honey and a sprinkling of mint. I feel refreshed already!
Worth the trouble it takes just to pronounce this dish, vichyssoise is a creamy chilled potato soup that’s got some serious flavor. Cook together 2 chopped leeks and 1 chopped onion in a little bit of butter, then add in 1 cup of thinly sliced potatoes and 2 cups of chicken stock. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked, then transfer those ingredients to a blender and puree. Add salt & pepper to taste, allow the puree to cool, and then stir in a cup of heavy cream or half-and-half.
If you prefer your summer meals to take on more of a dessert-like quality, try a delicious fruit soup. Blend together 2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries, 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of cream, and 1/2 a cup of yogurt. Add additional sugar to taste, if needed, and chill the mixture in the fridge overnight. It’s like a smoothie in a bowl!
All of these soups can be prepared ahead of time in larger batches and kept in the fridge for up to a week to enjoy at your leisure. Bon appétit, and try to stay cool!