Use garden vegetables to make cool foods

Posted Aug. 31, 2010, at 6:03 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:52 p.m.

It’s too hot to think about casseroles or anything baked, and besides, we have all those vegetables in the garden.

One day a couple of weeks ago we picked 45 pounds of cucumbers in one day. I’ve made pickles of several sorts, relish, and cucumber salad and sandwiches. We ground up cukes and put them in gazpacho. The cucumber plants are slowing down a little now, but there still seem to be piles of cukes around. Time to revive an old hot weather favorite, cucumber soup, since the heat and humidity don’t seem ready to let go of us yet.

This is a super-flexible recipe. A pile of cucumbers, yogurt or buttermilk, water or broth, scallions and garlic, and a handful of dill all get together in a food processor, and supper is ready. It is easy, too, which means you might have energy left over to build a nice salad. You can enrich it with sour cream or knock back calories with no-fat yogurt. If you don’t like garlic, leave it out. Use a bottled salad dressing, something white with herbs in it, for example, or even a vinaigrette to add character. Instead of dill, use fennel.

I partly peeled my cukes in order to add green to the color. And I seeded them if the seeds had toughened (no beige seeds).

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Yields 6 servings.
4 cups seeded, peeled and pureed cucumbers
2 cups yogurt or buttermilk
2 cups chicken broth or water
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
a bunch of scallions, white parts mostly, finely chopped
salt and pepper
handful of dill leaves, finely chopped
mint chopped finely (optional)

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl or pot and mix very well. Put into the fridge to chill. Serve with a bit of sour cream, or a swirl of heavy cream if you wish.

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