Summer rocks until you have been assaulted by a heat index of 114˚ and your kitchen isn’t air-conditioned. All the food that could melt does; probably because you are constantly opening the freezer door just to cool down. Needless to say, you want to minimize your time slaving over a hot stove (or stopping to take step-by-step pictures – my apologies, dear foodies). Thus, a cold cucumber avocado soup won out after a friend dropped off a five pound bag of summer squashes, cucumbers, and peppers.
After peeling, seeding, slicing, and simmering the cucumbers they turned from crisp and cool to soft and savory. Cucumbers being mostly water, I never thought to cook a ‘cuke. Although I admit I was skeptical at first, I have been won over. There is something familiar and yet adventurous about cooking cucumbers. Adding avocado was the secret to a smooth, silky texture and nutty, buttery flavor. To brighten the soup, I used cilantro, dill weed, and mint for their tingly citrus notes and grassy-green taste.
Once I had finished blending the soup, I took a taste of the warm cucumber soup and actually found that I preferred it over the cold soup. (Ah the merits of taste testing along the way…) Eating the soup cold had its perks – it basically tasted like a thinner guacamole, yum! – but the heat of the jalapenos did not blossom without heating the soup, and the cold soup’s texture became a bit strange after bowl two. Overall, the soup was a successful attempt at minimizing time in the kitchen and maximizing my eating enjoyment (even when I can’t get the thermostat any lower than 85 without my AC busting).
Cucumber Avocado Soup “Cold Guacamole Soup”
2 T EVOO
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 small onion, diced (about ¾ cup)
1 T fresh lemon juice
4 cups peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced cucumbers
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 tsp jalapeno, finely diced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp dill weed, dried
1 T fresh mint, chopped
½ cup plain yogurt
1. In large saucepan or high-walled skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat.
2. Add onions, cook for about 2 min. Then add garlic, cook for an additional 2 min.
3. Add lemon juice and cook for 1 min.
4. Add cucumber slices, broth, and season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
5. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer until the cucumbers soften, about 6-8 min.
6. Take skillet/pan off heat; let cool for about 5 min. Transfer soup to a blender.
7. Add avocado, cilantro, dill weed, and mint; blend on low speed until smooth.
8. Pour into bowl and stir in yogurt. Garnish with fresh diced cucumber and cilantro.
Soup can be enjoyed hot, or can eaten cold after being chilled for about 2-4 hours.