Sunday, May 16, 2010

Soupy Blender Tricks

I'm a big fan of the Food Network, both on the internet and on the television. Alton Brown remains a perennial favorite, I miss Mario Batali greatly, but I hadn't been familiar with Ellie Krieger.

I found myself cruising the site and found this recipe for a cool cucumber soup. I was intrigued. I haven't had a lot of cold soups in my culinary travels. Gazpacho, of course, I've tried, and when I went on a cruise in 2009 I got to try several cold soups, but those were all fruit-based.

One of the nice things about a lot of online recipe sites is you can often see commentary from people who have tried the recipes. I took several comments into consideration when I put this together:

  • 3 cups plain nonfat yogurt (several of the comments mentioned that Greek yogurt would be an improvement, so I went right to the Fage)
  • 1 English cucumber (about 1 pound), cut into chunks (These are also called hothouse cucumbers or "cuke in a condom." Big bad on Ellie here. Not everyone is going to understand intuitively you're supposed to peel and seed the cuke first. It's not a difficult, but it is a very necessary part of the operation)
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup) I used two, since some of the comments mentioned it could be a little more flavorful.
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato (about 5 ounces), seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

I also added a few grinds of red pepper.

The recipe itself was very easy to follow:

In a blender, combine the yogurt, cucumber, scallion and dill. Pulse until pureed. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual bowls. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons of diced tomato, drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and garnish with a dill sprig.
A ladle is completely unnecessary, you can pour directly from the blender into the bowls.

In retrospect, I recommend adding the yogurt to the blender last so the cucumbers get lots of time on the blades. You'll probably have to stop pulsing a couple of times to push the cucumbers down. Altogether, I think it was about four minutes of blender time to make it nice and smooth.

The texture was delightfully smooth. We ate it with toasted English muffins, for some texture. Next time I make it, I think I'll try some multi-grain bread, or possibly some wheat crackers.

My favorite taster, also known as my sweetie Ken, suggested more dill, which I can certainly support. Myself, I wanted a little more salt, and more of that red pepper. I considered paprika, but I'm not 100% sold on the idea. This is a dish that will be experimented with over the summer.

I served this as an appetizer to a meal of Greek pasta with lamb meatballs, which will be next week's entry.

Questions? Comments? Have a recipe you'd like me to try? Let's hear it!


  1. Have you thought about toasted croutons, or maybe a bit of crostini? That may give it a bit of body that you are looking for. While I usually advocate garlic flavored croutons, I don't think it would be right for this type of soup.

  2. Beki, I think I want something chewier and grainier. Crostini or croutons aren't quite the texture I'm thinking of.