Two cool soups to savor anytime you like… Different yes, but good.

You’d agree, wouldn’t you, that there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer’s night than a bowl of chilled soup? If that thought hadn’t crossed your mind, then clearly it’s time to introduce you to a cool and delicious experience!

Just as hot soup provides a comforting buffer from our bitterly cold winter days, chilled soups are a refreshing respite from the blazing heat of summer.

The best known chilled soup is gazpacho, a tomato-based blend of peppers, onions, cucumbers and a long list of other vegetables spiked with the vibrant acidity of vinegar or lemon. At my home, we love a spicy bowl of gazpacho, but when we’re in charge of making a chilled soup we like to keep the recipe as simple as possible and the ingredient list short. It’s summer, after all, a season better spent relaxing outdoors than cooking elaborate foods inside.

Chilled beet soup is about celebrating the sweet, earthy flavor and deep, vibrant color of beets. We use just a few other ingredients to perk up the flavor, including apple cider vinegar and dill, and then let the beets speak for themselves. It’s a simpler version of borscht, minus the potatoes and long cooking time.

Creamy Red Pepper SoupChilled creamy red pepper soup
This soup is somewhat subtle, with the red-pepper sneaking up on you along with a hint of cumin. Creamy yet light with an amazing flavor that will wake you up no matter what time of day you eat it.

Ingredients:
2 roasted red bell peppers
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup chilled chicken stock
1 tsp. cumin
Sea salt to taste

Instructions:
If you have a gas stove, roast the peppers by placing them over the flame whole. The peppers can also be blackened on a grill or under a broiler. Turn as each side of the pepper blackens. Place the blackened pepper in a plastic bag or a covered container to steam briefly so the skin is easier to remove, then rub off the blackened skin. Cut the pepper open and run under water to remove all the remaining skin and seeds.

Purée the roasted peppers in the blender with the coconut milk, chicken stock and cumin until smooth. Add sea salt to taste. Chill completely before serving.
Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

beet-borschtChilled beet soup spiked with dill and vinegar
Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
6 cups grated beets
(peel the beets and cut off the top greens)
3 carrots, grated
4 cups water, or enough to
just cover the grated beets
1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. peppercorns or
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 bay leafs
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
3 tbsp. cider vinegar, or more to taste

Instructions:
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then sauté grated beets and carrots for 3 to 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat slightly and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove the bay leaf. Add dill and vinegar. Chill completely before serving.

Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Chilled soups are most refreshing when chilled completely in the refrigerator (not just at room temperature) so plan to make them a few hours before serving.

Originally  written by Ian Leatt for Lifestyes55 paper (http://lifestyles55.ca)

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