Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 109th birthday. It has been an honor, a passion, and a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Taste With The Eyes for the past several years.
This year, let’s travel back in time to Cambridge, Massachusetts where I imagine dinner at the kitchen table of Paul and Julia Child as they enjoy a light supper together on a hot August night.
“An excellent light supper need be no more than a good soup, a salad, cheese and fruit. And combined according to your own taste, a good homemade soup in these days of the can opener is almost a unique and always a satisfying experience,” says Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One, Fortieth Anniversary Edition published by Alfred A. Knopf 2006.
Tonight’s light supper begins with Vichyssoise, a Cold Leek and Potato Soup, where surprisingly simple ingredients yield a soup with an elegant texture and captivating complex flavors.
You can chug this chilled soup from a tumbler and be in heaven, but ladle it into cold shallow bowls and garnish with some fantastic accompaniments, and it will be one of the most extraordinary hot weather soups you’ll serve this summer.
It is garnished with a dizzying array of chopped hard boiled egg, a kefir drizzle, radish, sliced pickles, lemon, chives, and fennel fronds.
The best part is the mind-blowing complex flavors with tangy notes from the kefir, earthiness from beets, hints of anise from fennel, a pungent kick from the Dijon mustard and a peppery kick from the horseradish.
The second best part is how easy it is to make. Combine the soup ingredients in a blender until smooth, chill until nice and cold – and there you have a perfect summer soup… simple and easy enough to enjoy for lunch today or with jazzy garnishes that make it elegant enough to serve at your next al fresco dinner party.
This recipe was inspired by the famous Eastern European Cold Beet Soup called Holodnik. I add fennel, Dijon mustard, garlic, and prepared horseradish to the traditional ingredients for a more spicy and complex flavor profile. Chopped bread & butter pickles replace the usual cucumber to add sweet and sour elements.
Chilled Kefir Soup With Cucumber,
Herbs, Edible flowers, and Kefir “Waves”
This hot weather calls for a cool refreshing light lunch. How does Chilled Kefir Soup with Cucumber and Herbs served with home-baked seeded artisan bread and a glass of un-oaked chardonnay sound? How about we serve it Spa Style, in the pool. Put on your swimming suit and let’s do lunch!
Hailing from the South of Spain, the refreshing chilled tomato soup called salmorejo is ideal for warm weather entertaining and the perfect soup to kick off a delicious summer.
Traditionally, salmorejo is garnished with chopped hard boiled egg and Serrano ham. Here, as a nod to salmorejo’s close relative, gazpacho, I keep this version meatless by substituting cucumber spirals for the ham. It is often finished with a drizzle of olive oil, however I jazz it up with cool crema and fiery chili oil. A jammy egg sits on top. Purple garlic blossoms make a pretty addition, hinting at the garlic in the soup.
With just three ingredients, cold cantaloupe soup couldn’t be easier to prepare, nor more refreshing. This delightful Chilled Cantaloupe and Key Lime Soup is perfect for summer entertaining. Key limes give the soup a fresh bright acidity.
The garnishes take the soup to another level. Feta brings a tangy element while olive oil adds a rich mouthfeel. Kaffir lime leaf slivers bring a luscious perfume and unique citrusy flavor. The green herb garnish of mint and cilantro contrasts the pastel-orange soup for a very pretty presentation.