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#947 - Chilled Soups
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Given the abundance of food that is available to us during the summer, it makes a lot of sense to see how much diversity we can work into our menus. One item that can easily disappear from the summer table is soup. Customarily, we have our soups piping hot, better to ward off the chill of winter. But we can very easily put that chill into the soup and come up with recipes that refresh us during the hot months.
Of course, the classic chilled summer soup would be Gazpacho. Gazpacho is a liquefied salad, and the versions are endless. We particularly like one version that uses golden tomatoes.
Nearly all chilled soups are either vegetable or fruit based. It's not a time for big meaty concoctions. Either can be made in a smooth, pureed style, or in a chunky style. There's also the option of taking a recipe to the savory or the sweet side. Either works just fine.
Here are some tips:
-The blender or food processor will be your best friend. We need to process the ingredients, making them chunky or fine as desired. Remember to peel and clean away any vegetable or fruit parts you don't want to eat, in particular seeds and skins.
-Following the processing, a good strainer or a china cap can help smooth out the texture.
-Chill everything before making the soup, this includes not only ingredients but the mixing and serving bowl.
-Plan to season more aggressively with a chilled soup. The low temperature can mute flavors.
-Your liquid base can be a broth (chicken or vegetable for most savory soups), fruit juice, wine, chillled cream, buttermilk, or just plain water.
-Let your imagination run wild when it comes to toppings and garnishes. Whipped creams, sour cream, croutons, snips of herb, sprinklings of grated nuts, broccoli florets, pomegranate seeds, lemon or lime zest, or pieces of a soup's principal ingredient all work well.
-In terms of chilling, the longer the soup stays in the refrigerator, the more the flavors will intermingle, and the more intense the seasoning will become. Therefore, overnight is not a bad idea.
-Many hot soups can be re-invented as chilled soups, but you have to use your discretion. Cream of tomato, yes, chicken noodle, no, fresh pea soup, yes, pea soup with ham hocks, no.
-For fruit soups, melons are the hands down ingredient of choice. It's easy to get nice big chunks of melon to work with, and they process very, very easily. Just be sure to get melons with a lot of flavor!