Monday, August 20, 2007

From the Summer Cooking Wish List: Lunar Gazpacho

Although it has taken me a while to give this soup proper attention, the results were worth the wait! The version I present here is inspired by and takes its name from Crescent Dragonwagon’s Lunar Gazpacho, which she published in Passionate Vegetarian. I liked her version, but I found myself craving something a little smoother, lighter, and sweeter. I have kept what I think is the essence of her soup: plain yogurt, cucumbers, mint, and fruit. I swapped out green grapes for honeydew melon. I replaced the raw almonds with a tablespoon of tahini. I added a dab of honey for sweetness. The final result, as you will find hopefully, is smooth, light, and refreshing. I’m really pleased with it.

Ironically enough, today is a cool, cloudy day, a day on which you wouldn’t mind using your oven. Lunar Gazpacho can be served on a day like today, no problem, but I bet it will be even better on a hot summer’s day.

Lunar Gazpacho
Adapted from Lunar Gazpacho, pp. 175-176,
in Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon
Makes ~3-4 generous servings

1 long (12 inches or so) seedless cucumber
½ honeydew melon
1 cup water
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt (I like Brown Cow brand)
A handful of fresh mint leaves, rinsed clean
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. honey

1) Prepare the cucumber by slicing off the ends and then peeling it. Cut it into 2-3” chunks and place in a blender* or food processor.
2) Prepare the honeydew melon by cutting out the inner seeds and white membrane and then slicing the fruit off the peel. Cut into 2-3” chunks and add it to the cucumbers in the blender.
3) Add the water, yogurt, mint leaves, tahini, and honey to the blender. Puree this mixture until it is smooth.
4) Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator to serve later. If you like your food to look pretty, you can garnish it with a whole mint leaf or two. Serve in large cups or small bowls.

*Depending on the volume capacity of your blender or food processor, you may need to do this in batches. You can puree ingredients separately, such as the water with the cucumber and then the yogurt with the remaining ingredients, and stir everything together well in a large mixing bowl.

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