Cucumber Soup with Mint

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A while ago I was at the New York Vegetarian Festival. It takes place once a year and the objective is for branded vegetarian food items to get showcased. So you can find anything and everything related to vegetarian cooking. It was at that expo where I discovered the VITAMIX. That machine can do it all. It makes smoothies, soups, ice cream, nut butters…. you name it. I was sold.

Since then, every opportunity I get to pulverize down the proliferation from my CSA, I pull out my Vitamix and hit, pulse. One week this passed summer, I received 6 giant cucumbers. (Sorry for the late post, just found these photos in my camera) While cucumbers are a welcome respite from the hot summer months, it was just too much of a good thing. That’s when I decided to stir up this cucumber mint soup. I grow mint in my garden and use it regularly when I want to freshen up a dish and it especially pairs nicely with yogurt. What I love about this soup is its simplicity and yet its layers. The ginger and cumin seeds form the undertone in the soup, with just the right amount of bite, while the yogurt cools you down with its creamy tang. As in all soups, it’s best slurped the day after, when the flavors have had a chance to marry.

From the Silk Road, I present this chilled cucumber mint soup.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
3/4 cup scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
4 medium sized cucumbers
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Freshly grounded black pepper, to garnish

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the scallions and grated ginger and saute for about 5 minutes or until the scallions have turned a dark green color and wilted.
  2. In a blender, like a Vitamix, combine the cucumbers, yogurt, fresh mint and salt. Slowly stir in the scallion mixture and blend until smooth.
  3. Chill the mixture for a least 2 hours in the fridge and serve with freshly ground black pepper and a few sprigs of mint.

Spicy Cucumber Peanut Salad in Lime Dressing

This salad is the best of both worlds for me. Cucumbers and limes which are so refreshing and cooling against the backdrop of the slight bite from the chilies. My taste buds just do a happy dance when I eat this. The utter simplicity of this salad with just a few ingredients; a hit of citrus, toasted peanuts and an exotic touch of slivered coconut –  transforms this ordinary cucumber salad into a complex and layered salad. This recipe has been Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s Cucumber Salad {Khamang Kakdi) in How to Cook Indian. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, April 2011.

Serve 4

Ingredients

3 medium cucumbers, partially peeled
1 green serrano chile, stemmed and minced
1/2 cup peanuts, toasted
1/3 cup dried large-flake coconut, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
a handful cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and chop into1/4 inch cubes. Just before you’re ready to serve, transfer to a mixing bowl and toss gently with chile, peanuts, coconut, lime juice, and sugar.

     

  2. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a small skillet and stir in the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the cumin for 15-30 seconds – just long enough to toast the spices. You’ll know from the fragrance. Remove from heat, sprinkle in the salt, and immediately stir this into the salad. Turn out onto a patter topped with the cilantro.

Cucumber Salad


Nothing like cooling off on a hot day with a cool refreshing cucumber salad. These variation of cucumbers are the long ones… almost a foot long and longer and it yields so much for this salad. You can prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. The easiest way to slice the cucumbers so your hands don’t tire from all that chopping, is with a food processor fitted with a metal blade. This is a perfect ornamental salad when you have guests to be placed into a clear tall glass vase.






Serves 8-10

ingredients

4 English cucumbers, sliced very thinly

1 red pepper, seeded and julienned

4 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

3 teaspoons brown sugar

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions
    1   Sprinkle salt over cucumbers. Mix and let stand for 1 hour.
    2   In a small bowl, mix and combine vinegar, sugar and garlic. Set aside.
    3   Place cucumbers into strainer and squeeze gently to discard any liquid.
    4   Mix cucumbers with red pepper. Pour dressing into bowl and combine with parsley.