McCray: Don’t get steamed, soup’s for summer, too

What's Cooking

07/20/2009 5:25 PM

07/22/2009 1:02 AM

It's 106 degrees. I think I'll make soup.

Yes, soup.

The hotter-than-hot days we've been enduring lately don't lend themselves to much, except sitting on the couch, watching Food Network, waiting for the heat to be over.

Moving is optional. Cooking is unthinkable.

But everyone's gotta eat. So, after a few nights of sandwiches for dinner, I got my act together and cooked something. My editor, who ever so politely asked that I pick a cold soup for this week's column, gave me the recipe — chilled carrot soup with dill.

The upside: It was sooo refreshing. The downside: I had to turn on the stove.

The recipe came from a book titled "300 Sensational Soups." It looked like the perfect summer meal — healthy, light and flavorful. The carrot juice and cardamom promised sweetness; the lemon juice and ginger promised tang and spice.

When I braved the heat and went to the store all that promise went out the window. They didn't have carrot juice. Cardamom cost $11.49 per bottle. What was I thinking?

I sent my husband to a second store for the carrot juice — and the white wine, which I forgot to buy in my heat-induced stupor — and set about making the soup.

Prep was easy, just a bit of slicing. I used the immersion blender to purée the soup, which took about three minutes.

I pretended not to notice the part of the recipe where it said to simmer for 20 minutes. There was no way I was going to keep the stove on that long.

Still, the finished product was everything you could hope for in a summer soup. Not too rich, not too creamy, but silky and sweet, with just the right amount of spice.

This recipe is a winner. Too bad you have to turn on the stove.

Bee staff writer Kerry McCray can be reached at 578-2358 or at kmccray@modbee.com.

What The Testers Had To Say

This is a delicious and enticing soup, especially when the outside temperature is over 100 degrees. The carrot flavor is tempered by the addition of flavors that are not carrot. Why the onion and carrots need to be sliced is a mystery. When I make this again, I will use the food processor to chop both vegetables. Garnishing with fresh dill sounds like an unnecessary flourish, but I think it is essential. So is chilling the soup bowls.

— Ralph Moore, Modesto
    

I had some doubts about this soup since it combined carrots and cardamom. I love cardamom in baked goods and I love carrots in almost anything but wasn't too sure about them together. However, I think the taste combination worked. I would put a bit less cardamom in but not much less. I followed the recipe exactly. It took some time to make but, thanks to my handy food processor, it wasn't too onerous. It hit the spot on a hot night and was very inexpensive to make. I will definitely make this again.

— Francia Stanton, Modesto

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