I can’t believe how hot South Florida can get. I step outside at 7:00 am to pick up my newspaper (you know, that rectangular piece of plastic melting on my driveway) and I am hit by a wall of humidity and a whopping 91 degrees. At 7:00 am remember. And we’re in September.
My son is excited by this weather harassment. He can’t wait to try and fry an egg on our new VW Tiguan (‘Try papi’s car,’ I suggest.) Well at least he’s got a culinary mind frame. I could look at this whole thing half-glass-full and celebrate a kid headed towards a creative cooking career that may lead to a house on the beach for his mama. Yes, it will still be damn hot but at least there will be a breeze.
Right now there’s nothing.
Even my air-conditioning moans in complaint. The usual threats:
‘I can’t do this much longer you know. You’ve been talking about retiring me for five years now but I swear I’ve lived my last summer doing this crap and I will leave you now I will, I will. I’ll shut down and walk away.’
I know I ask for too much. But the pool is tepid outside so all I’ve got to cool off is my sturdy RUUD a/c and my batch of soups that start coming out.
Those that know me know I am a soup gal and hot weather isn’t going to stop that one bit. But before your brow gets flooded with sweat, take solace in this:
Chilled soups are fabulous, delicious, and do cool you down.
Just as a cold winter night begs for a thick, hearty chowder or minestrone, a day fit for Haden yearns for a crisp chilled cucumber soup, a zesty, refreshing Gazpacho, or even a silky lemon-zest asparagus shot. The options are endless, but the soup I keep going back to is one I had one hot day while walking down the cobble-stone steps of the lovely town of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. A friend and long-time resident had recommended a quaint restaurant called Bougainvillea for lunch and my husband and I diligently resorted to its courtyard filled with blossoming bougainvillea for, what would be, a memorable meal. We started with the restaurant’s favorite: chilled avocado soup. It was both creamy and rich, served in a wide bowl that I thought was way too large a portion for one. The avocado blended wonderfully with the cream and chicken stock and seemed to coat our souls with sustenance while instantly cooling us off from the blazing heat. That large portion was quickly devoured leaving our palate longing for more.
Coming back home I tried to replicate this memory. Lord knows the heat factor is in check. I have a somewhat blossoming bougainvillea in my back garden but no cobblestone road. Still, the creamy, cool, nutty flavor did the trick at revitalizing my soul and taking the heat index down a notch. Perhaps I can consider my saltillo tile as quaint as cobblestone.
Chilled Avocado Soup
4 ripe avocados (like Haas)
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 cups chicken broth
3 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro leaves and red pepper slices for garnish
1) In a food processor, add flesh of one avocado, scallions, garlic, and lemon juice. Puree. Add flesh of second avocado; puree. Add third avocado and cumin. Puree until smooth. Add cilantro. Slowly add chicken broth; blend until smooth. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate.
Garnish with cilantro and red pepper.
Yield: 4 servings
Note: You can adjust richness by increasing stock or decreasing amount of cream.