Start with fresh summer soups
by Joni Schockett
Special to DJW
Research shows that a first course of soup can prevent overeating because it satisfies those first hunger pangs with less filling, less fattening food. Soups can be made from meats, vegetables, fruits or grains and may be water (stock) or cream based. Quick and easy to make summer vegetable-based soups or cold soups can fill the void. Look to the farmer's market for the freshest, ripest vegetables and enjoy soup, even in the summer.
WITH A TWIST
The twist here is the bread that adds texture and thickens the soup. For a different flavor, try using seedless rye bread or even black bread. Make this soup a few hours before serving to preserve the tart ripe flavor and crisp texture.
3 pounds ripe tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1/2 small Vidalia or sweet
2 slices French bread, crusts removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons garlic wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (scant)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch white pepper
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup garlic croutons
1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
Place the green pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Add the garlic and onion and pulse a few times until finely minced.
Peel the tomatoes by dropping them, a few at a time, into a large pot of boiling water. When the skin splits, remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them into ice water. They will peel very easily. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the core and some, but not all the seeds. Add them to the processor and process until smooth.
Add the bread and process until smooth. Add the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper and tomato juices and process again until you have the consistency you like, either smooth or chunky. Place in a large container and chill for several hours.
Garnish with crispy garlic croutons and cut-up veggies.
Asparagus is abundant this time of year. You can use milk instead of cream for a thinner soup with much less fat and fewer calories.
1 pound thin asparagus stalks
4 tablespoons butter
8 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon flour
3 cups vegetable stock or water (stock can be purchased)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup milk (2 percent or whole, skim doesn't work)
1/2 cup light cream (use whole milk here for lighter soup)
salt and white pepper to taste
Cut the tops off of the asparagus (about 1-1/2 inches) and set aside for garnish.
Melt half the butter in a large sauce pan and saute the shallots until they are translucent and just beginning to brown.
Cut the asparagus stalks into inch-long pieces and add to the shallots. Saute until the asparagus begins to soften, about 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and stir constantly for about a minute more. Add the stock and stir well until the flour is absorbed into the liquid. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil and cover, simmering for about 15-20 minutes.
Cool for about 15 minutes and then process the soup in batches in a blender on the highest, puree setting. At this point, you can pour the soup through a sieve for a very smooth consistency or just pour it directly into a clean saucepan. Add the milk and heat through, but do not boil.
While the soup is reheating, add the butter to a sauté pan and add the asparagus tops. Saute until tender, 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus stalks.
Once the soup is heated, whisk the cream into the soup and pour into bowls. Garnish with the asparagus tops.
COLD LEEK AND
This soup tastes great the next day. It is mild enough for kids to like. You can serve it in mugs and top with sour cream.
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed (California Long Whites work well)
4 leeks, about 3-4 inches of white, trimmed, cleaned and chopped
5 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons butter
7 cups vegetable stock
1 cup sour cream, creme
snipped fresh chives for
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
Meanwhile, place the butter in a saute pan and add the shallots. Add the leeks and saute for about 5 minutes.
When the potatoes are barely soft, add the leeks and shallots and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper and let cool for a few minutes.
Process the soup in a blender or processor, adding more stock or water if the soup is too thick. Add half the sour cream and whisk to blend. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Chill until cold.
To serve, pour into bowl - chilled bowls adds a nice touch - add a dollop of the sour cream and sprinkle on some fresh chives.
Joni Schockett lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three children. When not cooking or writing about food, she is an adjunct professor of English.
Staff at Dallas Jewish Week does not test recipes and therefore may not be able to answer readers' questions.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, June 6, 2002