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Cold Summer Soups

Luca Nebuloni/flickr

During the cold of mid-winter it makes sense to warm our insides with big bowls of piping hot soup.  So, conversely, wouldn't it make sense to cool down our tummies during the summer with bowls of fresh cold soups? Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School points out, so much of the summer produce can be used this way.

Here's a few ideas Jerry cooked up.

Cream of Basil Soup with Sweet Corn Relish


2 cups of raw cashews, soaked

2 cups filtered water

1 ½ packed cups of fresh basil leaves

2 large handfuls baby kale, or spinach

3 garlic cloves

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

Rinse the soaked cashews, and discard soaking liquids.

In a blender pulse together, on low the cashews and water. Add in the basil, kale, garlic, salt and pepper and blend on low until totally smooth.

Transfer soup to an airtight container and refrigerator for at least one hour or until chilled all the way through.

Sweet Corn Relish


2 ears of corn

1 small sweet red pepper

1 small red onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped

Roast the corn, in their husks, in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Husk the corn and cut the kernels from the cob. Finely dice the onion and red pepper. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Cantaloupe Soup with Minted Cream


1 cantaloupe

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 tablespoons mint leaves

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. superfine sugar

½ cup mint leaves

¾ cup Prosecco

Make the soup: Place the cantaloupe, lemon juice, and zest in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the mint leaves and salt and pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Make the basil cream: Place the cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer set with the whisk and beat until lightly thickened. Add the basil and continue to beat until thick. Add the Prosecco to the soup right before serving. Divide evenly among four bowls and top with the cream.

Carrot Soup with Cucumber Pistachio Relish


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion

4 cup chopped carrots

3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. sugar

2 tablespoons curry powder

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 lemon, zest & juice

½ cup diced seedless cucumber

½ cup chopped pistachios

2 tablespoons crystallized ginger

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped mint

½ cup yogurt


Make the soup: Heat oil over medium-high heat, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, curry, and cayenne and cook for 1 more minute. Cover the carrots with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and season with salt. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until cold.

Make the relish: Combine the cucumber, pistachios, ginger, cilantro, and mint in a small bowl. Season with salt. Ladle the soup into bowls, add a dollop of yogurt and top with relish.

White Grape Fruit Soup with Spiced Grape Granita


1½ cup sugar

3 cups. water

2 piece ginger

2 whole star anise

1 lemon, zest and juice

3 lbs. fresh seedless white grapes, cut in half

Combine the sugar, water, ginger, star anise, zest and grapes over high heat in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is completely dissolved and the grapes soften, about 15 minutes. Mash the grapes with a potato masher until they release most of their liquid and strain into a large bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and chill the broth in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Spice Grape Granita


¼ cup sweet white wine like Moscato

¼ cup sugar

¾ pound red seedless grapes

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

In a saucepan combine the wine, the sugar, and 1 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer the syrup for 5 minutes and let it cool. In a blender or food processor purée the grapes with the syrup and strain the purée through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids. Stir in 1 cup cold water and the lemon juice and chill the mixture, covered, until it is cold. Pour the mixture into a shallow glass baking dish and place in the freezer on a level surface.  Stir the granite with a fork every 30 minutes, crushing the large frozen clumps, for 2 to 3 hours, or until it is firm but not frozen solid. Scrape the granita with a fork to lighten the texture and serve it with the soup.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.