Here in the Pacific Northwest this summer, we broke the record for the most consecutive days above 90 degrees. It was hot. Sure, the PNW doesn’t have the humidity of say, Chicago, but here’s the clincher: because it never (ever) gets hot in Portland, virtually no one has AC. So a lot of the things we normally do here suddenly become impossible – and there is NO WAY any of us are going to be turning on the stove or oven to make dinner. Now that it’s late August, what do we do when the mercury is still rising? You gotta think cool to be cool, people! From the GiftTree kitchen, are four perfectly palate-pleasing chilled soups for the dog days of summer.
Just like a great salsa or pasta sauce, the right recipe for gazpacho is a thing of beauty. There are hundreds of variations of gazpacho, but the general rule is that perfect gazpacho should have the right ratio of tomato flavor and a little bit of heat. I’ve aways been obsessed with Le Pain Quotidien’s version – the red wine vinegar, sourdough breadcrumbs and cilantro pesto drizzle make it truly special. If you get the chance to try Le Pain’s gazpacho, make sure they dress it with a garnish of radish, cucumber and mango for you. Trust me. If you want to make it yourself for dinner and avoid a hot kitchen, this Malibu Kitchen recipe is pretty great (especially if you can do the red-pepper-roasting on the grill outside!).
Yesterday was a particularly hot (and smoky, from all the nearby wildfires) one. A few of us headed out of the office for a working lunch, where I had a big bowl of vichyssoise. I fully expected to still be hungry after lunch, but this silky smooth, savory and oh-so-creamy soup was filling enough to satisfy, yet light enough to not send me into a coma for the rest of the work day. I’ve never made it myself, but I would most definitely trust a recipe from Anthony Bourdain for this! By the way, ever wondered how to pronounce this? Vishy-Swazz. There you go.
CHILLED AND DILLED BEETROOT SOUP (CHLODNIK)
It’s Borscht’s creamy cousin, in town for the summer! Earthy, herbaceous and filling, Chlodnik is a Polish creation that’s full of fresh dill and – get this – grated dill pickle. I highly suggest you use my Grandma’s pickles for this recipe, but she says you can have her pickle recipe when pigs fly. Polish, Russian and many Eastern European countries love to use kefir in several soup bases – it’s a beverage that is not unlike yogurt, but a little thinner and full of really healthy probiotics. So give this possibly-exotic-to-you chilled soup a shot! We love the Epicurious recipe – they garnish it with jammy boiled eggs, too (you’re welcome).
CREAMY COLD ZUCCHINI SOUP
What are you gonna do with all those zucchinis from the garden this year? Make this bomb zucchini soup, of course. And who wants to have a clean-eating day that feels more like a cheat day? You? Awesome. This soup only tastes like you’re eating something really decadent, but The Spruce Eats recipe reveals that there is not one starchy thickener in sight. At only 45 calories per serving you can definitely afford to make it extra luscious with a swirl of crème fraîche, yogurt or sour cream.
What’s your favorite cold soup?