It is firmly mid summer now. The long hot days and torrid nights tell me so. That, and the welcome sound of crickets and cicada wings and evening skies that twinkle with the light of fireflies. I love that summer effortlessly evokes a childlike sense of freedom. Something that seems to lie quiet the rest of the year. Even as an adult summer is the season of no rules; staying up long into the evening, neglecting chores in favor of spontaneous beach trips, swimming out deep into the cool green waters of the atlantic.
And there is part of me that thinks perhaps this clarity of inner child on these sweltering summer days affords me the opportunity to see things in a simpler light. To unpack and uncomplicated the life I live the rest of the year. Leaving it behind in favor of salty beach hair, bare feet, and lazy outside dinners.
At this time of year I am in favor of uncomplaining every area of my life – sheets go straight from the line to the bed, no folding. Bathing suits are traded for one of only a few easy outfits, hair tied in kerchiefs or topknots. Part of me thinks I could live in this season forever. Especially when there is an abundance of fresh bright vegetables coming from the garden. When something as simple as a plate of fresh tomato slices topped with salt, olive oil and basil can be the star of the dinner table. Made in less than five minutes with only a few simple ingredients and a good sharp knife.
I subscribe to William Morris’s philosophy and try to have nothing in my home that I do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. Typically, this manifests itself most in the kitchen. I like tools which are straightforward and useful and this usuall includes a knife and a chopping board.
However, I have been using my Wolf Gourmet blender for pretty much everything recently. It is one of those tools (or more accurately is The tool) which I have found uncomplicates my kitchen routine and is a very welcome additon. As temperatures soar my desire to cook has dwindled. But of course, the garden has also begun its peak production and with a glut of produce coming in, there is a need to use all of these fresh lovely things. So this, coupled with the state of the city cottage kitchen (somewhere between fully functioning and a half demolition) has proven an added challenge. In an effort to avoid take-away meals or resorting to bowls of fruit and yogurt each night. Which, incidentally is also what I eat for breakfast most mornings. I have been making the greatest use of this one kitchen tool, the lovely high preformance blender! Seriously, I may never cook anything again that can’t be made in it! I have been blending pesto using all the arugula and spinach in the garden, watermelon gazpacho (more on that later!) fresh sauces to accompany cooling rice paper spring rolls! But the house favorite at the moment is this blended chilled zucchini yogurt soup
The key to this soup is balance. Simple in creation, the combination of flavors are anything but. The bright green of the raw zucchini is brought to earth by the toasted cumin and likewise the sweetness of the peas is balanced by the sharpness of the lemon zest. Tread lightly, the little bit of garlic goes a long way as does the fresh raw garlic and salt. Make sure to let the soup stand for about 20 minutes, taste and season again if necessary. Use fresh peas if they are available, but frozen work just as well. Run a bit of warm water over them before blending to ensure they are defrosted. Finally, toast the cumin before adding it to the soup, it helps take away the raw flavor of the spice and elevates the smoky warm earthiness. In a pan set over medium high heat, toast the cumin for 15-30 seconds or until its fragrant.
This recipe serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter.
For the Soup
- 3c chopped zucchini, packed down
- 1c peas
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 1c yogurt
- 5 large basil leaves
- zest from half lemon or about 1/2 tablespoon
- 1.5 tsp toasted cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- creme fraiche
- toasted sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp spring onion, green tops only, very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves torn
- toasted cumin
- add peas to the blender
- grate garlic clove on a microplaner directly into blender
- Add lemon zest, basil leaves, toasted cumin and chopped zucchini
- Add yogurt and blend about 40 seconds on puree. It should be fairly smooth but retain a bit of texture
- Add salt and pepper as desired
- Let the soup stand 20 minutes, taste and adjust final seasoning
- serve it straight away or chill in the refrigerator up to 24 hours
To garnish – swirl a generous dollop of creme fraiche through the top of the soup and sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds. Divide the remaining garnishes between the two bowls. Dust the top of the soup with the tiniest bit of the toasted cumin being careful not to add to much or it will overpower everything.
*this post is in partnership with Wolf Gourmet. All opinions are my own