This is the first time in my life that I am terrified of the coming winter. In the past, I’ve always welcomed the cooling temperatures and the fuzzy feelings of cold-weather nesting: lazy weekends under a blanket on the couch, steaming cups of tea, rich meat stews and red wine. But this year it’s different. I blame it on the last winter we endured. Non-stop subzero temperatures and snow storm after snow storm for weeks on end will traumatize even the most ardent fan of winter. And so I find myself grieving the loss of summer and contemplating, for the first time, how nice it would be to live in a place like Florida or LA.
If you are feeling the same way, here’s a small way to briefly extend the summer: a chilled cucumber and avocado soup. I know that cucumber season is over but fortunately you can still find decent cucumbers at the store. And avocados seem to be available year round. The flavor of this soup isn’t very strong, so feel free to make it your own. Here, the recipe calls for some toasted coconut flakes on top and a few drops of Sriracha sauce. But you can use whatever makes you happy. A dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh dill would be fantastic. Add a couple of grilled shrimp and top it with some finely grated lemon zest and you have lunch. Whatever you do, it will help take your mind of the fact that winter is coming…Jon Snow! (sorry, I couldn’t help it).
Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup – Adapted from Food and Wine
Makes about 10 servings
Two 12-ounce cucumbers—peeled, seeded and chopped
2 Hass avocados, coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons Thai green curry paste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
One 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish
Sriracha sauce, for garnish
In a food processor, puree the cucumbers until smooth. Add the avocados, curry paste, sugar, and lime zest. Process until blended. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, the coconut milk and lime juice and process until smooth. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, toast the coconut over low heat, stirring a few times, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 minutes. Let cool.
Ladle the soup into small bowls or cups, garnish with the toasted coconut flakes and Sriracha sauce and serve.