Cold cucumber soup.

Perfect for a summer day, especially just home from a farmers market or the garden.

— Five or six large cucumbers, seeded. If you bought them from a
farmer’s market, wash well and leave the skin on, unless that thought
creeps you out. If you bought them at a grocery store, peel them.
— 1 clove garlic, smashed.
— 1 small leek, rinsed well and sliced. Discard the leafy green tops,
using only the white and barely green parts of the stem. (Could
substitute a couple whole green onions, sliced.)
— 1/3 cup rice or rice wine vinegar.
— 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
— 1 lemon.
— 1 1/2 cups plain or Greek yogurt. (Could substitute sour cream or
creme fraiche.)
— 1 jalapeno.
— Fresh mint leaves from two stems.
— Fresh dill, chopped. (optional)
— 1 tsp cumin.
— 1 tsp Chinese five spice.
— coarse salt.
— white pepper.
— shot or two good gin.

Dice the cucumbers and place in a large bowl. Add a pinch of the salt and stir. Toss in garlic, leek (or green onion), mint, dill, vinegar, olive oil and the juice from half the lemon.

For the jalapeno, if you want it spicier, leave in most or all of the ribs and seeds. I’ll usually take much of that out, but leave a little for the heat. Chop and add to the bowl.

Add cumin, Chinese five spice and pepper to taste. I think I usually use somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of the pepper.

Stir to combine all the ingredients in the bowl. (Yogurt still on the side at this point.)

In a blender, add the bowl mixture no more than two-thirds of the way up the side of the blender. You may have to do this in batches. In the last batch, after blending once, add the yogurt.

Combine all the batches in one large bowl and stir well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. If it seems too thick, stir in a little water, milk or buttermilk. Too thin, add a little more yogurt.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or two. Right before you serve it, add the shot of gin and stir. Sometimes when I serve this, I’ll add another tablespoon or so of the yogurt on top of the soup in the bowl for presentation and a little extra creaminess.



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