Cowgirl Chef: Put these soups on ice

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Icy Asian cucumber soup

Makes 2 to 4 servings

1 small nob of fresh, peeled ginger

1 garlic clove

4 cucumbers, peeled and seeded and cut in 2-inch chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Sesame seeds (white and/or black), for serving

1. Mince the ginger by either putting it in a garlic press or chopping it finely. Do the same thing with the garlic. Toss both into a blender.

2. Add the cucumber pieces, the olive oil and rice vinegar and blend until smooth.

3. Pour into a shallow dish and put in the freezer. Every 30 minutes or so, scrape it with a fork. After 2 to 3 hours, the soup will be ready. Serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.

Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 2: 331 calories, 29 grams fat, 18 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, no cholesterol, 13 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 74 percent of calories from fat.

Spicy tomato slushie soup

Makes 2 to 4 servings

1 red bell pepper

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes

1/2 small white onion

1 garlic clove

1/2 jalapeño, optional

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

1. Roast red pepper directly on the flame of a gas stovetop or underneath the broiler. Make sure all sides are nicely charred, then put the pepper in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool. Use a knife to scrape off the blackened bits, remove the seeds, and put the pepper in the blender.

2. Put a pot of water on to boil. Lightly make an “x” on the tomatoes’ bottoms and when the water boils, put them in for 30 seconds and remove them right away. The skin should now come off easily. Chop the tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds and juice into a bowl (to reserve for bloody marys) and put the tomatoes in the blender along with the roasted red pepper.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste for seasonings and refrigerate. When you’re ready to make the soup, pour it into an ice cream maker and let freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top.

Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 2: 339 calories, 28 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, no cholesterol, 972 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 70 percent of calories from fat.

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I’ve long been a fan of cold soups. I was hooked after the first spoonful of gazpacho in Spain many years ago, and then, living in Paris, where air conditioning is a rare thing, I saw them on bistro menus everywhere — both savory and sweet.

Cold soup season there always begins in the spring, with asparagus soups and strawberry soups showing up all over the place, and continues throughout the summer. So the idea of taking whatever’s fresh and available, putting it in the blender and then chilling it down, started to take hold.

I began to see everything at the market as something I could turn into a cold soup. I still do.

Here in Texas, sometimes a cold soup just isn’t cold enough. Which is why we have ice, to chill things down a little bit more.

So why not do the same thing with soup?

There’s really nothing to it, this icy summer soup-making business. After the vegetables are chopped and pureed in the blender, you can either pour the soup into a shallow dish and make it into a granitalike soup by scraping the mixture with your fork every now and then as it hardens, or you can pour it into an ice cream maker and make more of a soft, slushy soup.

Either way, it’s a fun way to eat your veggies this summer. And even more important, it’s another great way to cool down, which we’re all ready for about now. Is it fall yet?

Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of “Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking With a French Accent” (Running Press, $25);, @cowgirlchef.

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