Spring has sprung, and that means more local produce is showing up every week. Right now we have local, organic rhubarb, Napa cabbage, red mustard greens, asparagus (the only local organic asparagus that you can buy at any grocery store in town, I might add!), salad mix, and my favorite – English and Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cucumbers from local grower Dominion Organics.
I sampled the English cucumbers last week for customers, so this week I had to pay attention to the Mediterranean cucumbers – as I have stated in the past, they are my most favorite local produce item (well, until the honeycrisp apples start showing up from Bellewood!).
As I was surfing the web for recipes, I ran across a bunch of cold soup recipes. I know, cold soup sounds really yummy, huh? Most everyone has heard of gazpacho, but a plethora of chilled soup recipes exist out there, and I found a couple more that I will prepare and sample this summer as we get more local produce in stock. Just like any soup, these recipes can have a large range of ingredients, so I looked for one that I knew could be made with all local products once the growing season really gets going (except the lemon and olive oil – we’ll never get those locally due to our climate!).
This soup would be great on a hot summer day because it really is refreshing (and soooo easy to make!). The flavor profile is similar to mint raita (cucumber/yogurt condiment – see our January Meal of the Month recipe), and it has a little bite – followed by creamy smoothness. One of the recipes I found suggested serving the soup with a garnish of raisins, which I though would be really strange, but they add a nice touch of sweet and added texture to the soup, though they may not appeal to everyone!
This is a (mostly) one-pot meal – all of your ingredients go straight into the blender or food processor. The recipe I adapted (from allrecipes.com) indicated that you should use raw garlic, but that flavor doesn’t appeal to everyone, so I did blanch the garlic for about 45 seconds before I added it to the blender. I used a 4 cup blender, and the soup came out to about 4 1/2 cups, so it just fit – any more ingredients and I would have had to make it in two batches.
I used the Greek Gods non-fat yogurt, but any yogurt will work – I will make it with the local Grace Harbor Farms yogurt next time. You can also use English cucumbers, but I don’t recommend regular cucumbers for this recipe as the flavor is different and you would have to de-seed them first.
Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup
1 1/2 c yogurt
1/2 c sour cream
1 t olive oil
3 large Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cucumbers, peeled and grated
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 bunch mint leaves, chopped (about 1 c)
1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped (about 1/2 c)
2 cloves garlic, crushed and blanched (can also be used raw)
1/2 t salt (optional)
1/4 c raisins (optional)
1. Combine yogurt and sour cream in blender or food processor (fit with blade attachment)
2. Add olive oil and blend.
3. Add cucumber to blender/processor and combine until smooth.
4. Add lemon juice and pulse to combine.
5. Add mint and dill, combine until smooth.
6. Add blanched garlic and combine until smooth.
7. Add salt if using.
8. Refrigerate soup after final blend, or serve immediately.
9. Serve garnished with about 1 T of raisins (if using), or leftover herbs.
This would be great served with lamb, or just some toasted pita bread.
To blanch garlic—
Heat a couple of cups of water in a small sauce pan until boiling. Add crushed garlic cloves and allow to cook for about 45 seconds. Remove garlic from water and let cool on cutting board. This will mellow the heat of the garlic, and is not a necessary step if you are a raw garlic fan!