Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Cooling Summer Apéritif: Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup Shots

Icy-cold cucumber yogurt soup spiked with bits of fresh mint and fennel fronds, served in shot glasses on the back deck. What better way to spend the apéro hour, waiting for the evening to cool down before lighting the grill?

Well, you could be up here on the north coast of California where, as evening falls, we change from shorts and t-shirts to long pants and sweatshirts, or, like last night, down vests. Yes, really. One of California's best kept secrets, our summer weather. It's even foggier and colder than a summer in San Francisco.

However, once in a while we get stunningly sunny, warm afternoons. One warm enough a few days ago to prompt me to pull out a recipe that I made often during the hot summers of the Sacramento Valley where I used to live.

I adapted this recipe years ago from Molly Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook. The recipe lends itself well to adaptation and as I happen to have both fennel and mint growing in my garden, I thought they might be a good pairing. I was right. I used the fennel fronds, chopped fine, but I think that a peeled, chopped small fennel bulb would also be perfect.

With seedless cucumbers and a good, organic, plain yogurt, full-fat, low, or non, as your base, think up your own herbal combinations and go for it.

Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup with Mint and Fennel
Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

4 heaping cups peeled and chopped seedless cucumbers
3 cups non-fat plain yogurt
2 cups spring water
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons agave
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons (packed) finely chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and buzz until finely emulsified.
Refrigerate until very, very cold.

How simple was that?

Cook's Notes:
Owing to the cucumber pulp, this soup can have a grainy texture. If you wish to present a more refined, smoother concoction, strain it before serving.

Had I reserved any, which I did not, I would have served these shots with a spear of cucumber as a stirring stick.

Copyright © 2005-2009, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Sounds and looks perfect for this warm weather.


  2. Hey Christine! Hope you are having a good summer.

  3. The fennel put me right over the top!

  4. It's very refreshing Paz.

    Hi Cynthia - yes, my summer is cruising along spectacularly!

    Hello Susan - the introduction of fennel was new for me and I'm so glad I thought of it.


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