Friday, July 6, 2012

Cold Cucumber Cilantro Soup

Cold Cucumber Cilantro Soup

A friend of mine, Christal,  has been making yogurt from the goats she raises and sharing it with me. This yogurt is perfectly tangy, without the strong flavor typical of many goat yogurts. It is remarkably creamy, but thinner than most other types of cow or goat yogurt, and I often drink it rather than eat it with a spoon.  So I was eager to use it in this recipe for Cold Cucumber Cilantro Soup, which I found in Love Soup, by Anna Thomas.  You have heard me rave about the recipes from this cookbook in earlier blog posts.  I was looking for a cold soup recipe, since the weather in Duluth has been sizzling hot, like many other portions of the country recently. When I spotted this recipe and reviewed the ingredient list, I realized I had all of the necessary ingredients, with cilantro and mint growing in the herb garden. So I made it instantly, making only a half-batch to give it a try.  Ooooooh. I wished I had made the full batch because it was so tasty! Tom gave it the 2-thumbs up award, as well.  

Since the goat yogurt from Christal is a bit thinner than most, I reduced the amount when I made the soup, which worked perfectly. You can purchase goat yogurt in most health food stores and as well many traditional grocery stores. If you can't find goat yogurt, you could probably use plain cow yogurt. When I made the soup,  I wasn't so sure if the amount of cumin and jalapeno pepper would be too strong for me, so I cut those in half, as well. Also, I slightly reduced the amount of sea salt. The recipe listed below is Anna Thomas' original recipe and was used for the nutritional analysis.   

Just another quick note:  My husband, Tom, appreciates and understands the nuances of salt far better than I do, and enjoys exploring the many varieties of sea salts.  He encourages use of sea salt for several reasons.  First, typical table salt is bleached of all of its elements (except for added iodine).  Bleach is not something I want to consume for obvious reasons.  In contrast, sea salt contains important minerals and elements from the sea. Additionally, as Rebecca Katz notes, "When used in cooking, real salt--that is, sea salt--is used not to impart its own taste, but rather to unlock the flavor of every food it comes in contact with.  Sea salt crystals act like tiny scrubbing bubbles that release flavors."  (pg. 3.  One Bite at a Time). Have fun exploring the world of sea salt, goat yogurt, and cold soups with Pzazz!   

Ingredients for Cold Cumber Cilantro Soup
2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted and ground
4 cups peeled, chopped, seeded cucumber
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups goat yogurt
1/2 cup lightly packed mint leaves                      
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon finely minced,seeded jalapeno pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Put the peeled, chopped, seeded cucumber into a bowl and toss with the sea salt and leave them in the bowl for at least 15 minutes. Do not drain. As the cucumbers are sitting in the bowl with the salt, toast the cumin seed by putting them in a saute pan on medium heat and lightly toast till fragrant.  Grind them with a mortar/pestle or in a spice grinder.  Add goat yogurt, mint, cilantro and jalapeno pepper to the cucumbers with their liquid. Add the ground cumin seed.  Puree to desired consistency. Stir in lemon juice.  Let chill for at least 3 hours before serving to your guest who will be most impressed! Even if that is you. I garnished mine with a flowering cilantro stalk. Anna Thomas suggests chopped, unsalted pistachio nuts as a garnish.

Servings per recipe: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup
Total Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 19  mg
Sodium: 528   mg
Total Carbs: 13 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 20 g

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