Cucumbers & Soup — A perfect pair

Posted on August 13, 2014  /   Posted in Cheryl Dishes

Savory soup, brimming with flavor and garden-fresh vegetables, is easy to prepare and satisfying to the soul. It’s a great pick-me-up, a civilized way to start a meal, or an elegant finale when served as dessert. Soup is also popular, as we Americans consume over 10 billion bowls a year!

Soup has long been an economical method to stretch food dollars, and for those of us watching our waistline, soup is an excellent way to conserve on calories as enjoying a bowl of soup before a meal “fills” you up.

With the cucumber season is in full swing, we’ve been devouring our share of crisp, bright green, edible fruits. Cucumber sandwiches, cukes in roasted red pepper dip, slices of cucumber in artisan cider vinegar, and chunky cucumber-tomato and feta salads. During the hot, dog days of summer, I prepare a cold cucumber soup for a refreshing culinary taste.

This recipe for Cold Cucumber Soup uses tangy buttermilk, and is a snap to make in the blender. If you have access to a true buttermilk (as opposed to the cultured variety) like Kate’s of Kate’s butter, treat yourself to the flavor difference. I like how this invigorating soup is seasoned with fresh mint instead of the customary dill. Be creative! Fresh basil leaves and flowers or finely chopped fennel fronds would be delicious also.

Low in calories, this elegant cucumber soup by itself won’t make a meal. Add some chopped, cooked lobster or fresh Maine crab, swirl a bit of sour cream or yogurt over the top, slice the tomatoes, bring on the artisan bread and goat cheese for a satisfying and nourishing summer Maine repast.

Savory Cold Cucumber Soup

Cold Cucumber Soup

Cheryl Wixson
This recipe from my archives was adapted from Eating Well magazine. Buttermilk traditionally was the liquid remaining after the cream was churned into butter. Fresh buttermilk yields an elegant soup.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 garlic
  • 4 cups cucumbers seeded (if large seeds) and peeled (optional), about 3
  • cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves plus leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 ice cubes
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic clove into a paste, or finely chop. Add to a blender. Add the cucumbers (reserving a few slices for garnish), the mint leaves, buttermilk, vinegar, and the ice cubes. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Pour into chilled soup bowls and garnish each bowl with cucumber slices and mint leaves.
  • Makes four servings.
  • Suggested additions for omnivores: cooked, chopped Maine lobster or crabmeat, cooked Maine shrimp (when available!)

Notes

Nutritional analysis per serving: 57 calories, 1 gram protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fat, (0 grams trans fat), 390 mg. Sodium, 1 gram fiber.

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