The hot weather is nearly here. We need to use all the tricks available to keep the temperature down. I suggest a refreshing first course chilled soup.

A chilled soup becomes an exciting cool beverage that really stimulates your appetite. It's best served in a wide-mouth glass or cup with a spoon, then the option of drinking it or eating it with a spoon is available. Croutons are also a nice addition to this unusual appetizer. Make sure it's spiced to perfection so your guests come back for more.

Chilled Zucchini-Cumin Soup

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsps. ground cumin
  • 1 ½ lbs. zucchini, trimmed, cut into 3/4 –in. pieces
  • 2 14½ -oz. Cans parve [non-meat] chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 tbsps. sour cream
  • sliced fresh basil

Heat oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender; about 5 minutes. Add cumin; stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Mix in zucchini. Add broth; bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until zucchini is very tender, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

Mix 1/3 cup chopped basil into soup. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, or you can leave the soup in its chunky form. Transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill until cold, about 3 hours.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with 1 tbsp. sour cream and sliced basil.

Makes 4 servings.

 

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Cold Melon Soup

  • 2 ripe melons such as cantaloupe or honeydew
  • 2 cups parve [non-dairy] creamer or milk
  • 3 tbsps. chopped fresh mint leaves, plus additional garnish
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 4-6 tbsps. plain sour cream

Peel and seed the melons. Scoop out some melon balls with a melon baler and reserve them for garnishing. Coarsely chop the remaining melon to make 2-3 cups. Puree all the ingredients except the sour cream.

Strain and serve chilled, with a dollop of sour cream, additional mint leaves and a few reserved melon balls in each bowl.

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

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Gazpacho

  • 1 16. oz. can tomato juice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsps. wine or cider vinegar
  • ½ medium green pepper
  • 1 cup cucumber peeled
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup green onion
  • 1 medium tomato peeled
  • 4 ozs. chopped chilies
  • 1 clover garlic minced or ¼ tsp. powder
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pour tomato juice, oil, and vinegar into a blender. Cut vegetables into chunks, put into the blender. Add garlic, salt, pepper and chili pepper. Blend on medium speed until the vegetables are chopped. Chill thoroughly, 2 hours or longer. Can be made in advance.

May be garnished with cubed avocado, bean sprouts, chopped cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, parsley or croutons.

 

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Fruit Soup

  • 2 lbs. peaches – peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 2 lbs. plums
  • 1 lb. pears
  • 1 lb. sour cherries – pitted
  • 1 lb. apricots - optional
  • 1 cup sugar
  • approx. 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Mix all fruit with sugar, cover with water. Boil on a slow flame 30-40 minutes, until tender. Add 1 tbsp. cornstarch to 1 cup cold water. Stir in slowly, add more cornstarch if needed. Serve very cold.

 

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Cucumber Soup

I received this recipe from Bubbie Irma, of blessed memory. A friend of hers sent it to her.

"This was my great aunt's recipe. She left Poland in 1939, just as the Nazis came in. She got a job in America as a housekeeper for a wealthy family on the Main Line outside Philadelphia, and taught herself to be a gourmet cook. The original recipe called for 4 small packages of frozen chopped spinach. I made that many times and it was always great. But then one day, I substituted cucumbers and onions for the spinach and it was also great. (I think I should also try it with other vegetables.)"

  • 6-8 cucumbers – peeled
  • 2 onions
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/3 bunch fresh chopped dill (or 1 tbsp. dry dill)
  • 8 tsps. soup mix
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Cut the cucumbers and onions and place in a pot. Add the water and boil. Then add the dill, soup mix, lemon juice and black pepper. (DO NOT ADD SALT!) Simmer until cucumbers and onions are very soft. Mix in 1 small container of sour cream. Puree in blender. Chill. (It's also good hot.)

VARIATIONS:

 

  1. There is also an old Polish recipe very similar to this, which calls for pickles instead of cucumbers and more pepper. It comes out with a similar taste to Chinese Hot and Sour Soup.
  2. To make it parve [non-dairy] – use Tofu Cream Cheese or parve sour cream if you can get it.

 

Makes 12 servings.

 

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