When I said I was working on a soup book, the response was often, "Oh, I love soup!" People enthuse about soup in a way that's so heartwarming it makes me feel as if I'm in the right camp... The soups in this book are based on vegetables, and many of these recipes are new ones for me. But some are soup classics, by which I mean some of those that have stood the test of time in my kitchen, (Quinoa, Corn, and Spinach Chowder) and those that are classics in the culture (Boston-Style Black Bean Soup). I've tried to streamlined these dishes as much as possible without sacrificing goodness, so that you can easily enjoy them in your own kitchen. I hope you do enjoy making these soups and add them, one by one, to your repertoire.
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Ten Speed Press
February 07, 2006
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Excerpt from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen by Deborah Madison
with herbs, slivered radishes, and pistachios
Makes 3 cups
Avocado pureed with buttermilk (low-fat) and yogurt (with the cream on top) yields a pale green soup laced with masses of minced herbs, textured with cucumber, and garnished with slivered radishes, herbs, and green pistachios. All in all, it's a fine soup for a hot day, and although the recipe makes just a scant quart, it will be enough for four or more servings.
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup yogurt, preferably whole-milk
1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 large garlic clove
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 slender scallions, white parts plus a bit of the green, finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped dill
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 tablespoon minced marjoram or oregano
1 tablespoon minced tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
teaspoon sweetener, such as agave syrup (page 140), to taste
Finely sliced chives and chive blossoms
Thinly slivered radishes
Dill, mint, and cilantro sprigs
1/3 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts
1. Puree the buttermilk, yogurt, avocado, and a quarter of the peeled cucumber in a blender until smooth, then pour it into a bowl.
2. Mash the garlic with ? teaspoon salt and stir it into the puree along with the scallions, herbs, chile, and lime zest. Season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice, and sweetener, if needed. Seed and finely dice the remaining cucumber and add to the soup. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Just before serving, taste and correct the seasonings.
3. Ladle the soup into bowls, then cover the surface with the chives, radishes, herb sprigs, and pistachios.
For those who don't like using refined sugar, organic or not, agave syrup offers and alternative. It's sweeter than sugar but has a low glycemic index. While there's more to it than pure sweetness, its flavor is not a pronounced as that of honey or maple syrup. Derived from agave, the same plant used for making tequila, the liquid form of the syrup is easy to add to foods as it dissolves instantly. Agave syrup can be found in natural food stores.
Cool Cucumber Soup
with a cucumber-herb relish
Makes 3 to 4 cups
This herb-green froth of a soup can be whipped together in a blender in moments, then chilled until serving. Served in glasses, it makes a refreshing way to begin a summer dinner, and it's a great convenience to have on hand in the refrigerator for a quick lunch or an afternoon bite.
A cucumber soup can be led in many directions. You can allow dill to predominate and garnish it with dill flowers, use a mixture of herbs as is done here, or use any one of them alone. I find a mixture most interesting-dill, basil, cilantro, and chives with a leaf or two of lovage, the perfect cucumber herb in my opinion. If you want the snap of chile, add minced jalapeno and lime.
2 pounds cucumbers
1 cup buttermilk, whole-milk yogurt, sour cream, or a mixture
cup coarsely chopped herbs, including basil, dill, cilantro, and lovage
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Zest and juice of 2 lemons, or to taste
The cucumber relish
2 tablespoons minced chives or scallions
1 tablespoon minced dill
2 tablespoons each finely chopped basil and cilantro
1 lovage leaf, finely slivered
2 teaspoons olive oil
1. Peel and seed the cucumbers. Use one to make a cup of small dice and set it aside, then coarsely chop the rest. Puree in a blender or food processor with the buttermilk, chopped herbs, ? teaspoon salt, and the zest and juice from 1 lemon. Chill.
2. Just before serving, toss the reserved diced cucumber with the herbs, a few pinches of salt, the olive oil, and the remaining lemon juice and zest.
3. Taste the soup for salt, pepper, and acidity, adding more lemon juice if needed, then serve in chilled bowls with the cucumber-herb relish.