Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cold, Raw Soup for the Soul

I love chilled zucchini soup in summer, but it used to take planning, and time.
I would cook the zukes in a bit of broth (chicken, vegetable, your choice), with some onions and seasoning. Puree it in a blender. Mix it with a hearty splash of buttermilk until the consistency was just right.
Then I would have to refrigerate it, and wait. For hours, really, because no one wants lukewarm cold soup.
Then I came across a recipe for a chilled soup made with raw zucchini and cucumbers. D'oh!
Obviously you can eat zucchini raw; I do it all the time. I just hadn't thought of a raw zucchini soup.
The zukes were in the fridge, so they were already cold, as were the cucumbers and onion. The buttermilk too.
This recipe I found adds some water and rather a lot (in my opinion) of vinegar, and no buttermilk at all. But I figured buttermilk is both wet and tangy, as well as creamy. Therefore, water and vinegar out and buttermilk in.
The method is simple: Chop up zukes and peeled cukes (you really need to peel the cucumbers, I learned the hard way) in a ratio of about 2:1. Chop up a small amount of onion. Toss all these into the blender with salt and pepper (and herbs, if you like, and maybe a spoonful of Dijon mustard), pour in a little buttermilk, and give it a whirl. Once it's all smooth, check the consistency and add more buttermilk if you need to. Taste, and adjust seasonings.
OK, you can eat now.
Or you can pop the blender into the fridge while you dust off the patio table and have another glass of sparkling rosé.
We decorated our soup with toasted, crushed cocoa nibs (uh-oh, a new habit), ground ají colorado pepper and oregano flowers. Because, as you know, chilled soups need assertive seasoning. And it was pretty.

20 comments:

Maya said...

This looks great, I think I will try it. Somehow my cold soup attempts are always a mixed bag. Don't even get me started about last year's gazpacho attempt. God awful! But ya gotta try try again, eh?

Passionate Eater said...

It IS pretty Cookiecrumb! Gosh, I have missed my daily dose of Cookie and Cranky, and can't wait to catch up. I will be back in the SF area soon and would love to invite you (and other bloggers) over for dinner sometime! I hope you are well Cookie.

el said...

That looks positively lovely, CC. Esp. with the rose, and don't get me started about the choco nibs.

I am always really surprised how much more salt cold soups need to stand up. Vinegar or something tart too. But hey gotta do something if you're not hot.

kudzu said...

I felt the same way you seem to about lukewarm/room temperature/tepid soup until I was served a really restorative bowl of room-temp minstrone in Italy when I was suffering from a terrible hangover. It made absolute sense: not jarring, not demanding, just soothing me out of the horrors. I was hooked and have loved it ever since. But it has to be just the right soup -- vegetable-centric and soft and calming.

I do like cold ones, too, and yours is intriguing. Summertime is buttermilk time, for sure.

Zoomie said...

Oh, heavens, you blogged about soup, too! Some kind of weird parallel universe going on over in Marin! At least yours was cold...

Chilebrown said...

That sounds really Nasty! There is no bacon and no heat. You are kidding huh?

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

I like this. I like this idea a lot. 1st it's pasta made with the risotto method and now this.
Oh, and I think adding bacon is a good idea. Those real bacon bits from Hormel are wonderful. They're in the refrigerated section. Oh, and maybe some corn kernels, too...

Michelle said...

I like the addition of buttermilk to the mix! We've been making a few raw zuke soup recipes and they have all been okay, but not quite up to the creaminess quotient. I love that not only are you *mad* but you're obsessive too (you and your zukes and cocoa nibs - wink, wink). xo

Ed Bruske said...

Our buttermilk, from South Mountain Creamery, probably would not make it as far as the soup bowl--more likely to be slurped right out of the bottle.

cookiecrumb said...

Maya: Keep working on the gazpacho. Don't use any canned ingredients or tomato juice! Good luck.

PE: My friend! Can't wait to hear from you.

El: This should be a no-brainer for you. You are basically eating what you grow, pretty much in its pure form, with just a little diluting and seasoning. Just wait until I launch into the PEAR soups Cranky and I dreamed up yesterday!

Kudzu: Oh, believe me, I understand the loveliness of a tepid soup. I ADORE your hangover story.
More on buttermilk, soon to come. ;)

Zoomie: It's like two teenagers calling each other to see what to wear to school tomorrow!

ChileBrown: Cranky has become quite the inadvertent vegetarian.

Nikki: Wow, corn in there. Fun.

Michelle: Maybe not obsessive. Maybe just simpleminded. Easy to fool. But good. (Go for the buttermilk; it's genius.)

Ed: Another buttermilk slurper!!!!! Yay. I always have two quarts of it (Bulgarian culture, from Berkeley Farms) in the fridge. It's especially good in summer when the cows are eating fragrant grass.

The Spiteful Chef said...

I've never eaten cold soup before, or raw zucchini...and I don't like COOKED zucchini, but I wonder if I would like this? I was thinking a cold corn soup would be good (though I better get humpin' if I want to get some while it's still in season), so maybe I'll throw in some zucchini and see if I'm a bigger fan of the raw stuff. Thank you for inspiring me ;)

Zoomie said...

Tomorrow, I'm doing the nectarine and bacon tart. Tee-hee, do you think the boys will notice?

Anna Haight said...

This looks fab, and I love buttermilk. And I have it on hand since I've been on a biscuit making spree.

Honolulu Daily Photo said...

Hi,

On a hot day nothing tastes as good as cold soup. Looks good.

I love your counter (Bush's Last Days).

cookiecrumb said...

Spiteful Chef: I'd experiment if I were you. Probably raw, grated zucchini will be more to your tastes than soggy, cooked zucchini. I know you're interested in the vegginess and healthiness of this dish, but if you're a zuke hater, you still might not like it.
Wow. Cold corn soup sounds good. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Zoomie: Like them, I'd say "You had me at bacon."

Anna: Oh, gosh, I love biscuits, and I never bake them. Thanks for the reminder.

HDP: Hello, stranger! Thanks. xx

cook eat FRET said...

love love love this one
great ideas

you always give me great ideas...

cookiecrumb said...

Cook Eat Fret: You give me good ideas too, but they're usually too complicated (and expensive) for me to imitate. I don't even *have* an American Express card!

katiez said...

This sounds delish! I've been thinking the same thing - cold soup: yes, work: no.
Now, if I can only find the butter milk... or, wait, 1/2 Greek yogurt 1/2 milk... I know I have some rosado - the important stuff!

cookiecrumb said...

KatieZ: That blend of dairies should work! Or, even plain, watery yogurt alone. But, yeah. I first got this idea from a recipe for grated, peeled cukes mixed with the milk and flavorings. I love it. EZ.

cook eat FRET said...

99% of the time i am not complicated in my cooking in the least! even the egg yolk ravioli's... true i had to buy the ricotta but you could get it locally i'm quite sure and you don't even need much. often the $ i spend is because of where i live. again i say, northern cali is an enigma in the country when it comes to food.