It’s still too hot to cook much, so I’m on a blended soup kick.

While I like traditional cooked tomato soup as much as the next person, I think this raw tomato basil soup is even better, especially when you can make it with seasonal organic tomatoes. It’s a bit like a gazpacho, but with a paired down list of ingredients. It’s also easier to make than most gazpacho recipes.

tomatoes

I grow a very large variety of heirloom tomatoes in my garden, so I like to mix different colored tomatoes in this soup. A combination of red and yellow tomatoes yields a soup that looks remarkably similar to a cream-based one.

Basil and tomatoes get along fabulously, both in the garden and in recipes, so I grow lots of basil, too.

basil

Where I live (in New York), basil is an annual. If you live in a warm climate, it might be a perennial (lucky you!). Growing basil is easy to do as it’s very simple to start from seed- I have lemon basil, Thai basil, purple basil and more in my garden; for this recipe, you just need standard Italian sweet basil.

Recipe for Raw Tomato Soup with Basil

Yield: 1-2 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

*4 fresh tomatoes, preferably organic heirloom varieties, cut into quarters
*1 tablespoon bottled sun-dried tomatoes in oil (or 3 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water to hydrate for 15-20 minutes, and then drained plus 2 tsp. olive oil)
*1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
*1/4 tsp. Himalayan or sea salt to taste
*additional fresh basil and diced avocado for garnish- optional

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients, except those for the garnish, in a blender (I use a Blendtec, but the Vita-Mix is also great) and process until fairly smooth.

2. If you want it to be completely pureed, blend away until it's the consistency you like; I personally prefer it to retain some texture. Pour into bowl(s) and add diced avocado and additional fresh basil to garnish, if desired. Serves 1-2; I can easily eat this whole recipe myself.

rawtomatosouppartial

watermelonsoup

It’s August in New York and it’s really hot!

When the weather tops 90 degrees, it is really important to stay hydrated (especially if you are working, exercising, or otherwise spending time outside) and here is a great watermelon soup recipe for doing just that.

This watermelon soup with cucumber, lime and cilantro is cool and delicious. Watermelon and cucumber both have a very high water content, so this is ideal as a light snack before or after exercise. It also makes a quick healthy snack in between meals or a nice start to a summer meal.

Recipe for Watermelon Soup with Cucumber, Lime and Cilantro

Yield: 1-2 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

The amounts of the ingredients used in this watermelon cucumber soup recipe are very flexible. Feel free to add more watermelon, cilantro or lime (or exchange the latter two with other herbs/citrus). You can seed the cucumber if you like, but this is optional. I can also see adding a little minced Serrano chili if you are a fan of spicy foods, and you could add chopped avocado to the blender, or to the soup as a garnish, if you wish.

Ingredients:

*approx. 3 cups of watermelon (I used about 1/3 of a seedless mini watermelon)
*juice of 1/2 lime
*1/4 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
*pinch of Himalayan or sea salt- optional
*1 small cucumber, peeled if the skin is thick (and/or if it is not organic), and roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Process your watermelon in a blender (I use a blendtec home blender) so that you have approximately 2 cups of puree.

2. Add the lime juice, the cilantro, the optional salt and blend again. Add the cucumber and blend briefly so that the cucumber is finely chopped into the soup (I like it when some chunks remain, but feel free to make this as smooth as you like). This is nice served in a hollowed out mini watermelon, or you can just sip it from your blender! Serves 1-2.

I am submitting this melon recipe to the Monthly Mingle, hosted this month by Chew On That!

pickles and flowers

Having a great harvest of cucumbers this summer means I’m getting creative with the pickle recipes. These feature the lovely little lemon cucumbers, and they have wonderful spicy flavor from the chili pepper and ginger.

According to The Cook’s Thesaurus, the lemon cucumber is “sweet and flavorful”, basically lacking in “the chemical that makes other cucumbers bitter and hard to digest. Though it’s often served raw, it’s also a good pickling cucumber”.

lemon cuke pickles

Lemon cucumbers have a lot of seeds, so if you are looking for a super crunchy pickle, they are not the best suited for the task. If you’re dead set on crunchy pickles, try pickling them whole, or try this brine with traditional pickling cucumbers.

If you’re just looking for a slightly unusual, yet flavorful and healthy snack, or if you’re going to chop your pickles up and add them to other recipes (in a tuna or other salad perhaps) these are great.

Recipe for Spicy Lemon Cucumber Pickles

Use organic ingredients whenever possible...

Ingredients:

*5-6 lemon cucumbers, sliced into wedges
*1/4 large red onion, sliced
*1 Serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced
*1 tablespoon minced ginger
*1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
*1 qt. glass Mason or other jar
*1 Tb. Himalayan or sea salt
*filtered water

Directions:

1. Place sliced cucumbers in a large bowl and mix with the minced pepper, ginger, and lime juice. Pack this mixture into your 1 qt. glass jar.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the salt with 1 cup filtered water. Pour this into the jar over your cucumbers. Add more filtered water to bring the liquid about 1 inch below the top of the jar. All of the cucumbers should be covered (rearrange/remove a few if they are not).

3. Cap tightly and allow to sit for 3 days at room temperature.

4. Open the jar and see if the liquid is fizzy. If not, re-cap and allow them to sit for 1-2 more days. If there is evidence of lacto-fermentation (that's the fizziness), go ahead and taste a pickle. If you are satisfied with the flavor, transfer to the refrigerator for storage.

lemon cucumber pickles

WHB3-1This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, an event managed by Haalo from Cook Almost Anything. This week’s host is Anh from A Food Lover’s Journey!