Daily Archives: 19 July 2011

Cold Eats for Hot Days

It’s been a hot July. I can take the cold weather in the winter, but I’m not the best trooper when it comes to bearing up to a summer heat wave. I do my best, but you can only take so many clothes off.

Cold frosty drinks like strawberry daiquiris, frozen margaritas or even lemonade can help, but what about eats? Grilling keeps the heat outside. Watermelon is both refreshing and thirst-quenching. Many of my beloved side salads can be done without heat, especially if you start with canned beans.

My current favorite solution is cold soup. I’ve always been a big fan of gazpacho. Here’s the way I usually make it. I like that it can be made without turning on the stove.

This year, my favorite cold soup seems to be vichyssoise. I start with my usual hot potato-leek soup, add a pint of light cream, and chill it overnight. It’s filling without being heavy, creamy without being too rich. I’ve been making the hot version (without any cream) for decades, but was only inspired to try a cold version this summer. I’m glad I experimented because I’m pleased with the results.

What’s your favorite thing to eat when the weather is steamy?

Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (3-4 leeks)
4 cups diced peeled russet potatoes (2-3 potatoes)
1 quart chicken broth
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
2 cups light cream

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the leeks, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

In several batches, puree the soup in the blender. Add the cream and combine well. Add nutmeg and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Chill overnight.