Friday, July 25, 2008

cold cucumber soup.

Ages ago, when I was the cook in little bistro's and cafes in Chicago cold soups were a summer staple. When it started to get hot they were at the top of my menu planning list. I love whizzing together fresh fruits and veggies to make something so light and refreshing. With all of the cucumbers we are getting both in our yard and CSA, I had to make a cold cucumber soup.

I tend to mix it up a bit with whatever I have on hand from the garden, but this recipe is quick and easy and has such a nice flavor that I return to it often. I had it for lunch several times this week. Tasty!

2 large hothouse cucumbers (or 4-5 smaller cucumbers)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup creme fraiche*
1-2 cloves of raw or roasted garlic, smashed
2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
handful of fresh dill, chopped finely (or you could use mint)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Peel and slice the cucumbers and put into your food processor. Add the stock, creme fraiche*, garlic, cider vinegar, most of the dill, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch (to start) of celtic sea salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt plus a few cranks of fresh pepper to taste. You can also put all of the ingredients into a bowl and use an immersion blender.

Chill. Serve cold. Garnish with a little bit of the chopped dill.

If you don't have creme fraiche available and are not able to make your own, you can substitute good quality sour cream.

*creme fraiche::
Creme fraiche is a cultured cream - almost like sour cream, but with a creamier and milder flavor. We are lucky to have access to local creme fraiche from grass fed cows - or it is usually available at most coops or specialty stores. You can also make your own - I like the recipe from Nourishing Traditions:

1 pint good quality fresh cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
1 Tbsp whole-milk buttermilk

Place fresh cream in a glass container. Add the buttermilk, stir well, cover tightly, and place in a warm spot for 20-24 hours. Chill well.

To find good quality cultures to make your buttermilk (if you don't want to make it using the counter-top method), go here. They are awesome!


Lisa Anne said...

Oh yum! Me too, I worked in little cafes and one super fancy bistro. Chilled soup was a staple in the summer time. I have decided I will never work in a restaurant again (Thank God!) but I love having a lot of good recipes under my belt. We are sad that we had to let our cow dry up, so until she gives birth we will not have our own fresh milk for all those yummy desserts and such.

denise said...

Cool! More in common! I feel the same way. I loved the experience, and they were wonderful places to work all those years while putting myself through college but after that I was done!

Oh - that is the hard thing with having just one - how long until she gives birth?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Denise, you are an amazing foodie!!!!!