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Cold Soup: Are You Crazy?

Cold Soup: Are You Crazy?

Get ready for the hot weather.


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.


* * *


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.


* * *



  • 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.


* * *


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.


* * *


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.)



  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.


* * *



April 21, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Johnny Bern, May 23, 2007 12:48 PM

Delicious Cold Cucumber Soup

I made your Cold Cucumber Soup for Shavuot. It was a huge hit and everyone loved it. I put 2 slices of cucumber sliced on an angle and some dill in the center of each bowl and a dollop of sour cream and it looked really pretty too. I never would have thought to cook cucumbers but it came out delicious. Thanks for the recipe. As always, your articles and recipes are wonderful and most helpful. Keep up the great work.

(4) Anonymous, April 25, 2007 2:52 PM

Nu,ever since cruise ship servings of fruit soup,we have been seeking recipes;and here they were ! Takhe. md

(3) sara katz, April 25, 2007 12:23 PM

substitutes for parve chicken broth/soup mix

in response to draizel strauss:

Liebers makes kosher l'pesach soup mixes/broth which are labeled "no msg". being that pesach was not long ago, you should be able to still get it in the stores. thats the ones i use all year round.

(2) Draizel Strauss, April 22, 2007 11:06 AM

Substitutes for parve chicken broth/soup mix

Dear Chef Herschel,
Do you have suggestions for substitutes for broth and soup mix in your recipes? Once I'm cooking "from scratch" I'd like to use as few "prepared" ingredients as possible, particularly ones with high salt and MSG.

(1) Judith van Praag, April 22, 2007 9:59 AM

Great line-up

Nice line-up, I'm a fan of chilled soups! As a child I got to help making strawberry soup in season. In our Kitchen-Aid free household that meant mashing ripe strawberries wit a dinnerfork in individual soup plates.
Two ways to go about this. Slice and sprinkle fresh strawberries with a little sugar beforehand, which will draw out the juices, or sprinkle sugar on while mashing, which makes for a more fresh-fresh result. Wow! Talk about Kitchen Aid!

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