Monday, May 26, 2008

In the Raw -- Cool Mint Soup

Back when we were having a heat wave, I went to a local produce/gourmet store and looked for something cool to make. A bunch of mint caught my eye and I decided a cold mint and something soup would be the refresher I needed. I also picked up some cucumbers and zucchini and figured I would figure out exactly how to create my cool soup as I went along.

The line at Farmer Joe's was moving slowly so I started talking to the man behind me in line. The contents of his cart would make any vegan nutritionist proud. Turns out my linemate was Chef Reggie, a "fresh food evangelist," caterer, teacher and chef specializing in raw foods. We chatted for awhile and he encouraged me to keep the heat turned off and make it a raw soup.

I like the idea but wondered what to replace the stock with. His suggestions were orange juice or fresh coconut water. Good ideas, but not the flavors I was trying for.

Once I got home, I concocted this soup. It was cool and refreshing with the snap of mint and a bit of bite from my veggie "stock." You need to start it a bit in advance and make it a day or two before serving for the flavors to meld properly.

Cool Mint Soup
Serves 2-4

Vegetable "Stock"

1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley leaves
1 chopped clove of garlic
1/3 cup of coarsely chopped carrots

Put all ingredients in a bowl. Add 4 cups of tap water. Cover and allow to steep until vegetable flavors are infused from four hours to overnight. (The longer you allow it to infuse, the more pronounced the onion flavor will be. I steeped mine overnight.) Drain, reserving liquid for soup and saving solids for other use if desired.


1/3 to 1/2 cup of mint leaves (depending on strength of mint and how "minty fresh" you'd like your soup)
1 large cucumber, peeled
1 large zucchini
1 tomato, seeded and finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop mint leaves by hand or in a food processor. Finely grate or chop cucumber and zucchini by hand or food processor. Add vegetables and mint to "stock." Add tomato if using. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.

Cover soup and store in fridge 24 hours before serving.* Options include serving with a dollop of yogurt and a scattering of chopped almonds. (Or you could stir yogurt into the soup to make it a mellower, mint, creamy cool soup.)

*I tasted my soup right away and found the flavors were all distinct and it was not as satisfying as I had hoped. I stored it in the fridge and tried it again a few days later and was blown away how great it tasted. Twenty-four hours is my approximation of how long it takes this alchemy to take place. You may want to sample your soup periodically to find when your batch reaches this magic moment.

Based on my experience with Weight Watchers, I think this soup, without the optional serving suggestions, would be a zero point soup.

1 comment:

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Raw is good and I have fresh mint growing in my garden. A use I never thought of!