The Perfect Summertime Soup + {Recipes for the Week of August 13}

by Julie

I’ll admit it: when the thermostat and weather report both show a week of 104 degree weather (I think the high last week reached 109!), that’s when I finally give up turning on the stove–even for my morning tea ritual.

Not to despair, though: enter cold soups and the ever-handy immersion blender. Two weeks ago I used it almost every day (and continue to do so) for blending my breakfast smoothie; this past week, I used it to make one of the best cold soups I know and love: Avocado-Cucumber Soup, a creamy and completely satisfying meal for days that just don’t cool off. Here’s the recipe I’ve adapted and changed over the years. The secret spice I use? The powdered Mild Green New Mexican Chiles blend from this store in Boulder, CO. Whenever we visit family in that neck of the woods, I always make sure to stock up on this spice. If, however, you just can’t justify shipping spices across the country or hopping on the next flight to Colorado just for a spice run, I completely understand. Chile spice blends are pretty common in any co-op or natural foods market, or go a completely different route with the spice: try a green curry or simply add more fresh basil. Like I said, I’ve been adapting the recipe for years.

Avocado-Cucumber Soup

Ingredients

3 large avocados, seeded
2 medium to large cucumbers, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces (you can remove the skins if you prefer)
1 handful of fresh basil, stems removed
1/2 – 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 cups water, depending on your thickness preference
3 tablespoons Mild Green New Mexican Chiles blend
salt and pepper, to taste

To make
*While I used an immersion blender for my soup, a regular blender works just fine.

In a large, preferably deep mixing bowl (or blender, if that’s what you choose), combine avocado, cucumber, basil, olive oil, and spices. Add about 2 cups of water and pulse, then slowly continue to add more water and combine until soup is creamy (no chunks!) and you reach your preferred thickness. Garnish with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil, or gluten-free croutons. Serve right away or chill for an hour in the fridge. Your choice.

Recipes for the Week of August 13

Monday, August 13: Another Summer Soup (adapted from Purevege)

The author of this blog substitutes hing powder (below) for the flavor of onions, garlic, or leeks due to her yoga lifestyle and practice. If I can get my hands on some hing, I’ll be excited to try this; otherwise, I may substitute the garlic and leeks back in.

Ingredients

about 3 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon hing powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground nutmeg
5 baby carrots
4 cups baby potatoes
2 baby cauliflowers
4 cups fresh peas
2 cups fresh snow peas
salt, to taste
2 cups water
4 cups organic dairy-free milk, your choice
1 tablespoon kala namak (black salt)
handful of dill, finely chopped

Tuesday, August 14: Celery Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

8 large celery stalks, stripped of strings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini or garbanzo beans, heated
1/2 cup sliced almonds, deeply toasted
sea salt, to taste
freshly chopped herbs

Wednesday, August 15: Honeydew-Avocado Salad

Ingredients

1 half honeydew, cut into bite-sized pieces or simply spooned out in uncut chunks
1 avocado, halved and cut into thin slivers
1 head butter lettuce, torn into big pieces
1/2 cup crushed pistachios

For dressing (below are “loose” measurements; adjust to your own tastes)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste

Thursday, August 16: Cherry, Fennel, Lentil Salad (from Happyolks)

Ingredients

1/2 pound red cherries, pitted and halved
1 small bulbs fennel, shaved
4-5 small red beets, chopped
1/2 cup de puy lentils
2 giant handfuls of baby greens (kale, chard, etc.)
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon fresh basil, julienned
1 tablespoon fresh mint, julienned
1/4 cup shallot, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
salt/pepper on hand

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