What's going on in Boston right now! It's so darn humid.
Growing up in the Midwest, centralized air conditioning was pretty well the norm. So you can imagine when I made the transition to Boston I was taken aback by the fact that my apartment building (that was built in 1890) didn't exactly have heating or air conditioning.
Over the last three years I've learned to adjust, somewhat. Either by creating a "cool room" and closing the door to the room that the air conditioner is in, sitting by the pool, or eating cold delicious soups like this one.
I first learned about cold soups from Spring Creek Tea Room, a place that I don't talk about nearly enough. Spring Creek was my home away from home starting at age 14 (technically I started at 13 but I believe that's illegal so....). It's where I expanded my love for food beyond turkey, cheese, and bread. It's where my love for baking began. And it's where I learned to love the kitchen. To this day it is the first stop I make when visiting home and it will continue to be that way.
Oh yeah. Cold soup.
Spring Creek has always served (at least in my 9 years) Strawberry Soup, which is a cold, sweet, creamy, smoothie-esque, treat served year round with a special Peach Soup served only in the summer. At first, I was completely against it due to all of my picky eating habits. But then someone forced me into it. And I became a cold soup lover for life. It really was that simple. After that defining moment, I went on to try the Peach Soup (my favorite out of the two) and Brenda's homemade Gazpacho, which I fell in love with before trying it, as five of us stood in the teeny tiny kitchen cutting up the biggest pile of vegetables I had ever seen.
Since then I've always made my own version of that Gazpacho (which you can read about here). And I've never ventured outside of that box...until my Flour Too Cookbook arrived. (As you all know, I'm in love with Flour and getting my hands on the new cookbook was a very happy moment for me. If you haven't seen either book...click on the link below and prepare yourself for a life altering moment.) This soup is far different from what I expected. Typically Gazpacho is loaded with vegetables, and therefore not sweet at all. But this is loaded with fruit and therefore has a delicious sweetness to it. But it's not drag you down sweet. The cucumbers, cilantro, lime, and almonds balance the grapes in the most perfect way. Making this gazpacho the perfect way to cool off in this miserable heat.
Adapted from Joanne Chang's Flour Too
Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: None!
Total Time: 20 minutes + 1 hour chill time
2 lb seedless green grapes, stemmed
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
2 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons good-quality sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 English cucumbers, cut crosswise into 1-2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 1/2-2 tablespoons for finishing
dill to garnish (optional)
- Working in batches, combine the grapes, almonds, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice, and salt in a blender and pulse until the almonds and garlic are chopped but not too finely. Add the cucumbers and pulse again until the cucumbers are blended. Make sure not to overblend so the soup retains a bit of texture! Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Refrigerate for at lease 1 hour to chill the soup and allow the flavors to blend. Ladle into bowls and drizzle each with about 1 teaspoon olive oil and a sprig of dill before serving. The soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.