Week 7 Finalists: Best Cold Soup Recipe

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Gazpacho with Honeydew and Peppadew by DebbieK

Usually when you make gazpacho, you throw all the ingredients into a food processor and puree them at once, leaving bits of only the sturdiest ingredients. DebbieK makes hers in batches. You pulse each ingredient separately so it’s broken down to an evenly coarse puree. The addition of honeydew and peppadew is brilliant – broadening the range of sweetness and heat. And we like DebbieK’s instructions to add “several glugs” of olive oil and sherry vinegar. After much vigorous tasting we determined several glugs to be 6 to 8 tablespoons. Add the oil and vinegar to taste – and with gazpacho you should always adjust the seasonings again just before serving. This soup improves with time -- a few hours, or a day even.

The ingredients are classic -- with a few interesting additions.

The vast majority of hands-on prep for this recipe is chopping. But it doesn't have to be precise -- it's all going in the food processor.

One by one, the vegetables are processed. You want to keep them from being pulverized.

The peppadews add a subtle heat -- for a kickier soup, add more.

De-seeding the tomatoes, so the bitter seeds don't get broken in the food processor.

We used less than 1/2 of a large red onion, as onion tends to get overwhelming quickly.

Finely minced garlic is important here- it takes a few minutes, but it's worth doing by hand, as the food processor will inevitably miss large chunks.

The honeydew adds a subtle sweetness to the soup.

The melon is so soft, it's hard to retain any real texture. But that's ok!

We decided to chop the onion smaller than we had the other vegetables, as it's best when uniformly distributed.

We seasoned a few times -- once before adding the tomato juice, once after adding it, and once after chilling.

We ended up using roughhly 1/2 cup of sherry vinegar and 6T extra virgin olive oil. You should always add to taste, though, as vinegars vary greatly in acidity.

The sheer volume of the soup requires a lot of seasoning -- but it really makes the vegetables sing.



Chilled Cantaloupe Soup by Chef Gwen

Cantaloupe soup is often overly sweet and one-dimensional. Not so with Chef_Gwen’s Chilled Cantaloupe Soup. She adds orange, lemon and lime juice to the fruit, giving it a healthy blast of acidity, and then spices the soup with cinnamon and salt. When you taste it, you first get the sweet fruit, which seems impossibly bright and refreshing, and this is followed by waves of cinnamon. The soup, which takes 5 minutes to prepare, separates as it sits, so give it a stir before serving and get it ice, ice cold. And don’t forget the mint and yogurt swirls, which aren’t merely decorative -- the yogurt enriches the soup and the mint adds a note of freshness.

Simple ingredients, and a very simple method, leave no excuses not to try this at home.

We did a lot of juicing that day. Luckily, Amanda is very handy with a reamer.

This soup is so easy, that after the cantaloupe is cut and measured, the work is basically done.

Toss the melon, juices, honey and cinnamon together...

And just blend it all!

The soup looks incredibly smooth and creamy.

And Amanda likes to live dangerously by taking the top off the blender while it's going. Admittedly, it looked cool, but we do not reccomend trying this at home -- blender disasters are a nightmare.

We poured it right into a pitcher to chill, so that serving would be as simple as possible.

Merrill employs a great technique for chiffonading mint -- just use scissors!

We topped it with the reccomended yogurt, thinned with milk, and it was a big hit, even with Amanda's 3-year-olds.