Summertime an’ the Livin’ is Easy (Gazpacho and Sumptuous Strawberry Soup)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

….

Living in Florida, I know first hand how oppressive the Summer heat can be. When it’s 98 in the shade, the last thing anyone wants to do is slave over a hot stove – myself included! Since we still have to eat, I’m always looking for meal ideas that require a minimal amount of cooking, or better yet, no cooking at all. Simplicity is the magic word here. Those are the times that I toss together a big salad, throw some protein on top and call it a day.

I did just that last night. I made what I like to call a “Kitchen Sink” Salad. I call it that because when I make it, I clean out the vegetable bin in my fridge and raid my pantry and mix it all together. A lot of people underestimate salads. They view them as boring. Sure, a wedge of iceberg lettuce drowning in Hidden Valley Ranch with a few slices of anemic tomatoes is not the most exciting thing in the world, but who says that’s all a salad can be? When I make a “Kitchen Sink” Salad, I literally use everything but the kitchen sink! There is no recipe for it and the ingredients are different every time. Just use your imagination and create with reckless abandon!


For this salad, I started with an Italian salad mix from the market that had romaine, radicchio and some leaf lettuce in it. I added some leftover steamed green beans and boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, diced red onion, black olives, diced cucumber and some beautiful tomatoes from the farmers’s market. I also had an old can of artichoke bottoms lying around, so I diced them up and put them in too. I opened a few cans of red sockeye salmon and mixed it with some extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice and dumped it right on top. Then, I dressed it all with a light vinaigrette made with sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, roasted almond oil, salt and pepper.


I love adding fruit, nuts and seeds to my salads too. Many times, I will toss in blueberries, strawberries or orange slices, as well as walnuts, almonds or toasted sunflower seeds. The point is that anything goes. As long as you like it, that’s all that matters.
Another thing that goes well with a great salad is soup. Don’t you roll your eyes at me! Obviously, spending hours in the kitchen making a bouillabaisse from scratch kind of defeats the purpose, but I’m not proposing that. I’m not talking about opening a can either. What I am talking about are some quick and easy summer soups that require little or no cooking and can even be served chilled. All of these soups can be made in advance too.


One of the most popular soups that fits in this category is gazpacho. Gazpacho is a Spanish-style soup that sort of resembles a chunky, liquid salad. It has lots of fresh, raw vegetables suspended in a broth of puréed tomatoes or tomato juice. In the summertime when all of the vegetables are at their peak, this simple chilled soup is full of zesty and refreshing flavors. There are a myriad of excellent variations for gazpacho, but one of the recipes that I like best is Ina Garten’s from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It’s fresh, chunky, tomatoey and absolutely delicious! I like to jazz it up a little with some diced jalapeno, fresh lime juice and a dash of Tabasco.



Another one of my favorite summer soups is, again, from Ina Garten. I’ve posted about her Zucchini Vichyssoise before, but it definitely deserves another mention. Even though this soup does require some cooking, the recipe is pretty easy and takes less than an hour to prepare. It is also one that can be served hot or cold, so it makes a great leftover dish too. It is a wonderfully velvety, elegant and satisfying summer soup.



The final summer soup that I want to tell you about is one that I have served both as a brunch dish and a dessert. It is a smooth, creamy and sumptuous Strawberry Soup. This is probably the quickest and easiest to make of the three and it is amazing! Fresh, ripe strawberries are blended with yogurt, sour cream, lime juice and honey. The result is a cross between a rich mousse and a smoothie. Sublime!



The next time you just can’t bear the thought of turning on your oven or simmering for hours, don’t despair. You need not go hungry! Whip up your own “Kitchen Sink” Salad and one of these quick and delicious summer soups and you’re good to go. And, while you’re doing it, you can listen to a little mood music courtesy of yours truly. Here is a recording of a jazz arrangement I wrote of Summertime by George Gershwin. Hope you like it!

 

 

 


Enjoy!

49 responses to Summertime an’ the Livin’ is Easy (Gazpacho and Sumptuous Strawberry Soup)

  1. On June 19, 2008 at 12:49pm, Patsyk said...

    That’s my kind of salad! You’ll find that on our dinner table throughout the summer!

    I can’t wait to make gazpacho, but Jersey tomatoes won’t be in for at least another month… can’t wait!

  2. On June 19, 2008 at 12:53pm, Jen of A2eatwrite said...

    I think I have kitchen sink salads for lunch most days – I just look at what needs to be used up.

    The strawberry soup and zucchini vichyssoise recipes look really enticing!

  3. On June 19, 2008 at 1:03pm, Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

    What a beautiful piece of work. This must be one of your best posts ever – if not your best. It just summed up “Summer”. It is freezing here in Cape Town at the moment and the rain is coming down in buckets, but I would give an eyeball for a “Clean out the kitchen sink salad!”

  4. On June 19, 2008 at 1:30pm, Sophie said...

    Great summery recipes. I love how soups really enhance the already-great flavor of veggies :). This is such a healthy post, you have nearly every food group in here :D.

  5. On June 19, 2008 at 2:22pm, Nicole said...

    Great photos and ideas! It is HOT HOT HOT here lately too. These look so very tempting.

  6. On June 19, 2008 at 2:48pm, noble pig said...

    Looks lovely.

  7. On June 19, 2008 at 3:01pm, Proud Italian Cook said...

    Susan, You have some real good eating here! Everything is great for our hot summer to come! Thanks!

  8. On June 19, 2008 at 3:24pm, joanne at frutto della passione said...

    Susan, everything looks divine and so tempting. it is finally starting to get hot here too, so I’m going to be doing the no cook meal thing soon, thanks for the help!

  9. On June 19, 2008 at 3:56pm, Ginny said...

    I love gazpacho! Having grown up in NC, I feel your pain…we had salad alot in the summer growing up…my mother would tell us to cook if we wanted something else…it was just too hot!

  10. On June 19, 2008 at 5:15pm, Jeena said...

    Now that is what I call a salad! This whole post is making me hungry.

  11. On June 19, 2008 at 7:04pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Patsy- We’re getting some nice Ruskin tomatoes right now around here. You definitely need good sweet ones for this soup.

    Jen- Glad you like the soups! We do these kinds of salads for lunch a lot too.

    Nina- Thank you so much! Oh, wow! I keep forgetting about you guys down under! Stay warm!

    Sophie- Thanks! I’m glad you like them. I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess every food group is in there. :)

    Nicole- Thanks! I don’t remember it being this hot in years! Matbe, I’m just getting old. ;)

    Noble Pig- Thanks!

    Marie- You’re very welcome! I’m glad you liked it. ;)

    Joanne- Thank you! I’m glad your weather is finally starting to warm up. I hear you’ve been getting a ton of rain over there! :)

    Ginny- Hi! Your mother sounds a little like me. I’m much less accomodating around here when the weather is steamy!

    Jeena- Lol! Grab a fork (or a spoon)!

  12. On June 19, 2008 at 7:15pm, Manggy said...

    Hey Susan! Nice arrangement (love your voice)! Who are the musicians in the recording? (Reminds me of Europe– Fantasia Barrino had just sung it and it was stuck in my head, coincidentally some random street performer played it on sax in London… Sigh)

    I can’t believe for once that your temperature tops ours! The high temperature here is only 91°– it’s been tempered by frequent gentle rains. Nice :) I can’t really decide which soup I wanna try first, but to stay true to my sweet tooth, I’ll say… Strawberry :) They all looks so good and refreshing! (the face on the vichyssoise kinda reminds me of this though :P

  13. On June 19, 2008 at 7:55pm, Bellini Valli said...

    I am ready to cook with reckless abandon Susan. It is almost the first day of summer….roll on:D

  14. On June 19, 2008 at 8:09pm, Kevin said...

    So much tasty looking food! I am going to have to try that strawberry soup.

  15. On June 19, 2008 at 8:16pm, Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

    Love soup and salad…..could eat it everyday. My 4 year old pretty much only consumes soup. When in a pinch, dare I say, I jazz up those bear creek soup pouches w/extra veggies. Your pics look great.

  16. On June 19, 2008 at 8:48pm, Cynthia said...

    Great summer dishes! I am inspired.

  17. On June 19, 2008 at 11:42pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Manggy- Thank you! I’m glad you liked it! The other singers are my partners in my vocal jazz quartet. We’ve been together for 15 years. The pianist is the late, great Manfredo Fest. He was a famous Brazilian pianist that we worked with on one of our CDs. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago. Believe it or not he was blind! He played everything by ear! The sax player’s name is Kenny Drews and the drummer is Tommy Carabasi.

    The strawberry soup is my favorite too!

    Val- Lol! That is the only way to cook! :D

    Kevin- Thanks! Let me know how you like it.

    Obsessive- I loooove the Bear Creek Chili mix. I doctor it up a bit, but it really is “Darn Good Chili”! ;)

    Cynthia- Thank you! I’m glad I inspired you! :)

  18. On June 20, 2008 at 2:46am, Grace said...

    gazpacho is wonderful, and although i’ve never had (or know how to pronounce) zucchini vichyssoise, it looks delicious. however, given my ridiculous affinity for sweets, the real star of this show is the strawberry soup (sumptuous, indeed!). just tilt my head back and pour it on down my gullet. :)

  19. On June 20, 2008 at 6:47am, Cakelaw said...

    I love your photo of the zucchini soup in the glass with the face – I want one of those! It’s adorable.

  20. On June 20, 2008 at 7:45am, Patricia Scarpin said...

    Salads can be delicious and interesting and you have proven that, Susan!
    And the soups… well, they look fabulous. I have never tried these recipes, but you can be sure I will once summer is back here!

  21. On June 20, 2008 at 8:16am, Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

    Hopefully these will help me survive another Florida summer!!! Every year it seems to be worse and worse for me! Thankfully we have a pool!

  22. On June 20, 2008 at 2:54pm, Deborah said...

    This sounds like the perfect summer spread!!

  23. On June 20, 2008 at 6:06pm, The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

    I love gazpacho, but I am still waiting for tomato season. YOur presentation is fantatic for the zucchini soup (I’m not spelling it out!) What a cute little glass you put it in!

  24. On June 20, 2008 at 6:13pm, Joanna said...

    holy yum

  25. On June 20, 2008 at 6:15pm, Joanna said...

    Ok, I am in Florida too. When am I invited to your house for a Summer meal.

    sweating and misting in the heat – Jo (Brad’s wife…the one who won the Top CHef book!)

    love your blog

  26. On June 20, 2008 at 6:20pm, Kim said...

    Thanks for a nice assortment of summer food ideas.

  27. On June 20, 2008 at 6:43pm, Prudy said...

    What a great post! Thanks for all the recipes-now I’m going back for the Gershwin.

  28. On June 20, 2008 at 8:22pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Grace- I have to agree with you. I can’t get enough of that strawberry soup.

    Cakelaw- Isn’t she cute? I she has 3 sisters too. I got the set at a craft fair.

    Patricia- Thank you! The vichyssoise is also delicious as a hot soup. :)

    Judy- Isn’t it awful! It does seem to be getting worse every year.

    Deborah- Thanks!

    S(d)OC- Yeah, the tomatoes really make the gazpacho. Glad you like the glass. She has 3 sisters too. ;)

    Joanna- Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Bring your fan and pop on over anytime! ;)

    Kim- You’re welcome! Glad you liked them. :)

    Prudy- Thank you! Glad you like the recipes. Hope you like the Gershwin!

  29. On June 20, 2008 at 8:28pm, Gina said...

    A now-closed restaurant in Eureka Springs, Arkansas used to serve Strawberry Soup. The recipe is a wee bit different but not much (calls for vanilla and I *think* powdered sugar but I can’t remember off the top of my head). It’s so yummilicious – like melted strawberry ice cream. Mmmm. And yes, very summery! A wonderful choice!

  30. On June 20, 2008 at 9:15pm, My Sweet & Saucy said...

    Love the strawberry soup! Perfect for this time of year!

  31. On June 21, 2008 at 3:17am, Emiline said...

    I’m amazed by everything you made, but I especially love the strawberry soup! It looks so creamy and delicious.
    I love the pictures.

  32. On June 21, 2008 at 6:23am, kellypea said...

    Wow — what a great collection of recipes! I’m totally with you on salads like that. They’re so fun to construct. The artichoke bottoms sound perfect with that combo. I’ve never had cold soup, though. I get the concept, and the flavors sound yummy, but I’m thinking the menfolk would look at me like, where’s dinner?

  33. On June 21, 2008 at 7:53am, RecipeGirl said...

    I’m so sorry you have all of that ‘awful’ heat to deal with. So Cal has been having a heatwave this week where we’re close to 100 degrees. A little stifling but with no humidity it’s bearable.

    That strawberry soup!!! I’ve printed out the recipe already, and that close-up is magazine-worthy. Very nice!!!

  34. On June 21, 2008 at 9:42am, Zen Chef said...

    Wow, there are some good eats on this post. That gazpacho look fantastic, just how i like it… chunky! Yum!

    I’m the same way, when the temperatures climb to 90+ i cannot bear to turn on my stove. Stove or not stove, you can still treat yourself pretty nice. :-)

  35. On June 21, 2008 at 12:54pm, Cakespy said...

    Gazpacho has got to be one of my absolute favorite foods in the world. This looks like a wonderful version–I don’t like it too thin. But what’s making me want to die of pleasure is this strawberry soup!! A perfect color, and it sounds like a perfect flavor too! Although that “serves 4″ bit…hmmm, we’ll see if we can stretch it that far…

  36. On June 21, 2008 at 12:54pm, Lina said...

    gorgeous photos! I love that cute little cup with the face on it! ;)

  37. On June 21, 2008 at 10:59pm, Flanboyant Eats said...

    wow so many recipes in one post. sensory overload! how great!!
    i especially like the strawberries!

  38. On June 22, 2008 at 4:38am, Aran said...

    oh susan… a big YES to all of those! gazpacho, check… vichyssoise, check… strawberry smoothie, check…

  39. On June 22, 2008 at 6:21am, Susan from Food Blogga said...

    Oh, I just love that Gershwin CD! And that strawberry soup looks downright sexy!

  40. On June 22, 2008 at 12:10pm, Ivy said...

    So many refreshing recipes in one post. They all sound delicious.

  41. On June 22, 2008 at 2:19pm, White On Rice Couple said...

    Looking at your amazing spread is so cooling, it already takes away all the sweltering heat.
    We’ve had our fair share of heat yesterday too, ugh! Over 100 degrees with no air conditioning!
    I love gazpacho too! I can taste it already!

  42. On June 22, 2008 at 9:20pm, Simply...Gluten-free said...

    I’m in Florida too and yes, it is definately the salad and cold soup time of the year. Everything looks delish!

  43. On June 23, 2008 at 1:50am, Paula said...

    Just found your blog … love the strawberry soup recipe! Now that the strawberries are in season, this will be a fun one to try!

  44. On June 23, 2008 at 7:24am, Helen said...

    I do exactly the same thing with my salads Susan! I literally take everything in the the fridge an throw it all together. Always yum! Salads are definitely not boring.

  45. On June 23, 2008 at 8:44am, Parker said...

    Wow these all look so incredible.
    The texture and flavors of the zucchini vihyssoise is incredible. I am going to Paris for the first this fall – cannot wait, especially if food is as good as I am anticipating.

  46. On June 23, 2008 at 11:22am, Hillary said...

    Nice job on the summer soups! The zucchini and strawberry flavors look truly delicious.

  47. On June 24, 2008 at 2:18pm, CookiePie said...

    Gorgeous! I just posted a recipe for Blueberry Soup on my blog — I absolutely love a chilled fruit soup in the summer. I’ll have to try yours!

  48. On June 27, 2008 at 9:02am, We Are Never Full said...

    even though i can’t stand In-A-Garden (her name is totally made up… come ON!!!), I think this recipe looks delicious. I love a good gazpacho. This one looks great!

  49. On June 27, 2008 at 1:04pm, Tartelette said...

    As soon as I played it for B. he said “Manfredo Fest!…wow…her voice!” Guess where I was this morning? Rainbow Row and I drove by Porgy’s gravesite…Gershwin is everywhere in town! Except this is one of his least favorites to play because every tourist ask for it!!
    All the soups are wonderful…I want gazpacho now!

1 pings to Summertime an’ the Livin’ is Easy (Gazpacho and Sumptuous Strawberry Soup)

  1. On July 23, 2009 at 9:22pm, Chez Us » Gazpacho pinged...

    [...] Gazpacho *  adapted from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy & Barefoot Contessa (printable version) 1 cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled 2 [...]

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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