Lovin’ Fresh is a series of recipes designed to showcase produce gathered from local farms or grown in my own garden.
It’s almost here and I thought I’d better prepare all of you for it. It’s the ying to the yang of vegetable gardening. Those of you that are fortunate enough to have a little piece of ground to grow your own food will be very familiar with it. And those of you that visit farmers markets and can’t resist the siren song of all those amazing late summer vegetables know it too. Perhaps you shudder a bit just to think about it. Or, if you’re like me, you lie in bed, eyes wide open, conjuring up ways to creatively sidestep it.
“It” is that deluge of fresh produce that starts to haunt every corner of your kitchen, entryway, and basement, taunting you as it slowly deteriorates while you fret over and hunt out ways to use it up. By late summer, you’ve grown a tad tired of zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, peppers, and even tomatoes. Actually, I never tire of tomatoes, but I do get full before I can finish each new batch that comes off my prolific vines. That’s where this recipe, appropriately named Use ‘Em Up Cold Summer Soup, comes into play. How full of promise is that title? Question is, does it live up to the hype?
Yes! This soup does indeed use up a good deal of the fresh summer bounty lying on the kitchen counter and tucked away in the crisper drawer. It gets major points for that. It also racks up points for requiring no cooking in the (typically) hottest month of the year. And, let’s not forget, the flavor. This soup is extremely light and cooling with a rush of tomato flavor that’s quickly joined by the more robust taste of the zucchini and herbs. I liked how the cucumber crunched a bit and the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce gave it some tang in a pleasant aftertaste. I’m not a huge fan of chilled soups but I found myself craving this one the next day.
Use ‘Em Up Cold Summer Soup
Adapted from Simply Recipes
2-3 fresh large very ripe tomatoes
1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped fine
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine
4 or 5 small tender Swiss chard leaves, cut into fine ribbons
2 or 3 small sorrel leaves, cut into fine ribbons
1 T. fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 small zucchini, chopped fine
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
2 t. honey
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C. white wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1+ C. tomato juice (in addition to the juice squeezed from the tomatoes above)
1+ C. vegetable broth
Cut tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds over a strainer and bowl to catch the juice. Discard the seeds and pour the juice into a large ceramic or plastic bowl. Roughly chop tomatoes and add to the bowl.
Combine remaining chopped vegetables in the bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, Worchester sauce, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetable and toss. Add the vegetable broth and tomato juice, using equal parts until you reach the desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill overnight for best flavor. Serve with crusty bread.