Tuesday, July 27, 2010

cold cucumber-avocado soup with beet mousseline

i wonder if the comments you leave for me count as social interaction. perhaps if i responded promptly, like i used to, it would. the thing is, i'm ready to move someplace secluded, deep forest, forgotten island, if it will get me some quiet. if it's not some horrible thunderstorm - seriously, did anybody sleep saturday night? - it's neighbours having parties - and when did i turn into the jerk who blows the whistle on party folk? geez, i don't even recognize myself anymore. and it's all from lack of sleep. hence the moving-away-contemplation-thingy. i'm wondering if what we do here counts for human contact. the days i'm not wandering around forgetting what i set out to do, like an old geyser, it does. i can't wait to see what you think. if you replied to my messages. while i take every comment seriously, there's a few people out there whose opinion really matters to me, people i'm not likely to ever meet, but people i've connected to, despite that. so if i take my sweet time responding to comments and emails, it's not because i don't appreciate you. it's because of my drunken-pothead-neighbouritis, okay? it's a serious condition, there's no cure, and the only way to manage it is, well, if you can't beat them...ahem
luckily, there's this soup. if you've been trying to induce sleep, by methods unnamed, you'll be patting your own backs the next day when this just needs to be poured. you don't even need a spoon, (god knows how people put up with that racket anyway.) it's great if you can chill it overnight, but two to three hours will do. room temp will do. it's delicious, a lot more delicious than i ever imagined cooked cucumbers could be. you can even dispense with the whole mousseline affair, which is just a puree with some whipped cream folded in. if you have the time, though, it's worth it, i've been eating the leftovers on tortilla chips - it put a lot of dips to shame.

cold cucumber-avocado soup, with beet mousseline
adapted from epicurious

for the beets:
4 small to medium red beets
1 tb balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

preheat oven to 400F. wrap each beet in aluminum foil and roast about 1 hour. let cool and rub off skins. pulse in food processor or blender until very smooth, then mix in vinegar, cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. refrigerate.

for the soup:
4 seedless cucumbers, or 8 short stubby ones, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 avocado
1 tb lemon juice
2 tb oregano, finely chopped
1 tb olive oil
2 cups stock or water
1/3 cup sour cream
pinch of white pepper

heat the oil and sweat the onion until translucent. add the oregano and the cucumbers and saute 2 minutes more. add the stock or water and bring to boil. season, then simmer 20 minutes. let cool a few minutes, then blend it up or puree it with an immersion blender. cut the avocado and remove the pit. add the flesh to the soup and douse immediately with lemon juice. blend again til smooth. mix in the sour cream, correct seasoning - salt, white pepper - and you're done.
when you're ready to serve, ladle the soup in bowls and top each serving with a dollop of beet mousseline. garnish with herbs and perhaps a few crushed pistachios. i was out, and just so you know: the original recipe which doesn't contain avocado asks for dill, not oregano, which i think would still work very well here, try it if you have it on hand.
when you mix the two the entire bowl takes on a crazy, completely crazy fuchsia shade, and you think you're still having side effects from the unnamed methods, but then you take a slurp and somehow it makes sense.


  1. love presentation,love the soup!so creative with beet!bye-bye,have a good night!here is the morning...let's go to the job!:(

  2. hmmm, I'm reading the recipe and trying to imagine the flavor... sounds wonderfully different. the colors alone seem refreshing. I'm here in Soutern California and summer just won't kick in, but when it does I'm gonna try some cold soups...

  3. alison, thanks. too bad we can't cook the job and eat it :)

    louise, thank you. i wanted something different than raw cukes + mint in blender, but i honestly did not expect it to taste this good. cooked cucumbers? who knew.

    makka, thanks a lot!

  4. Aaah, my poor sleep-deprived, wild-eyed friend! Yes, this counts as social interaction - we're like long distance pen pals without the writers cramps. And because we're interacting at fibre-optic speeds, we don't have to write 10 pages to catch up each time. Having said that, everyone's life is hectic, so there's never an obligation to respond in a timely fashion! :)

    I hope you find some way to get some rest. Short of running away for a day or so (which to be honest, can sometimes do more harm than good, because you get back to the grind and feel worse because you felt so good the day before), I'd suggest - in all seriousness - a little breathing meditation. It does wonders for me when I'm stressed. I use an audio guide from Jon Kabat-Zinn, he's the guru, you might find some of his stuff on YouTube?

    Failing that, of course, there's always avocado and cucumber soup.. :)

  5. La tua presentazione di questa zuppa è molto bella, mi piace il tuo blog ...come sempre
    un abbraccio :) ciao

  6. This soup sounds delicious - I love avacado and the beetroot puree makes it look rather stunning.

  7. Sleep deprivation- a killer at the best of times. I say comments count as social interaction, a whole bunch of people connecting with you from all around the world. There for you when you want and will give you some peace when you want as well.
    Hopefully you will still be able to eat this delicious looking soup if you move to a secluded forest.

  8. Mmmmm, am castraveti, am avocado! Mi se pare o reteta excelenta, buna pentru zilele calde!

  9. c'est frais et c'est délicieux le tout joliment présenté
    bravo et bonne journée

  10. thanks everybody for your thoughts! i did respond a few days ago, to each of you, and i'm clueless why it hasn't posted. celia, brydie, i'm glad you think so. and thanks for the tip, celia, i'll check it out. i used to be really, really into the whole tibetan tradition, mantras and mandalas, but over the years i lost interest. maybe it's time to resurface some of it.


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