Cold Yogurt Soups
Enlarge Image Credit: Anna Stockwell
Cold, creamy, and tart, yogurt is one of my favorite summer ingredients. It's reliably refreshing and dependably versatile, swinging easily from savory to sweet and back again. I'm happy to eat it in any form, but I appreciate it most as an ingredient to whirl up in my blender, especially as part of one of the cold vegetable soup variations my mom got me hooked on making every summer. She taught me to cook my vegetables in the cool and quiet of the night kitchen, and then to blend them, after chilling overnight, into uncomplicated and revitalizing soups the next day.
The most famous cold yogurt soup doesn't call for any night-before cooking at all: the classic combination of raw cucumber, yogurt, lemon, and mint is spa-like in its refreshing qualities, my unrivaled choice when it's truly too hot for anything else. Swap the cucumbers out for earthy beets, cooked and chilled, and replace the mint with dill, for a bright, perfectly-balanced borscht-inspired bowl – one whose brilliant magenta hue is reason enough to fall in love. Slightly more involved – but worth the effort – is a sweet-spicy blend of curried yellow squash, onions, yogurt, and Thai basil. The warming kick of curry and cayenne lends depth and zing to this creamy chilled soup, and it's a great way to use up surplus summer squash.
I like to eat all my cold soups with at least one ice cube in every bowl. This serves the practical purpose of keeping the temperature down, but it also creates a wonderful textural transformation while eating: as the ice cube melts, the soup begins to thin, so that by the time I've reaching the end of the serving, it's almost an entirely different bowl of soup. To transform the flavor as well as the texture, I've taken to filling my ice cube trays with fresh herbs and citrus juice. This requires a bit of planning, but the effect is stunning. In the summer, everything is better with ice cubes.
See the recipe for Cold Cucumber Yogurt Soup »
See the recipe for Cold Beet Yogurt Soup »
See the recipe for Cold Curried Summer Squash Soup »