It’s too hot to eat!

I am going on a liquor diet. Just give me a cool adult beverage. I’ll wait until fall to eat again. I am going to North Carolina for the summer. Well that last option is pretty extreme. Except the part about going to North Carolina, that sounds like fun.

Unfortunately many of us don’t have that option. Thank goodness for a Florida physician named John Gorrie, who is credited with inventing the air conditioner during the mid-1800s.

It wasn’t until 1902 that a 25-year-old engineer from New York named Willis Carrier invented the first modern air-conditioning system. Now Florida became livable during the summer, but what does that have to do with food? Nothing really, I just thought you would like the history.

Now let’s talk about summer foods. We really should think of eating lighter meals so here’s our chance to eat healthier and maybe lose a few unwanted pounds in the process. Salads are always a good choice, but what about cold soups? Don’t turn up your nose! I used to think the same way until I tried some.

They are very tasty, easily digestible and will surprise you. It is just the idea of COLD soup. In some foreign countries a starter or holiday soup served cold is quite common. In the United States, not so much. We do have Gazpacho, fruit soups and Vichyssoise.

In today’s culinary world, cold soup is in. When it starts getting hot, chefs everywhere (not just in Florida) think cold soups. Try these recipes; you’ll love them. Be healthier and know what the chefs know. Enjoy!

Chilled Corn Soup with Lobster or Crab

Directions

Heat butter and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add corn, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is softened and beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes.

Add thyme sprigs and add milk and chicken stock to pot. Bring corn mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until corn is very soft, 3-6 minutes longer; discard thyme sprigs.

Working in batches, purée corn mixture in a blender until smooth (or use an immersion blender in the pot). Transfer soup to a large bowl, cover, and chill until cold -- at least 2 hours. Add cooked lobster or crab meat. Sprinkle cheese over top of soup before serving.

Fruit Gazpacho

Servings: 6

Directions

Purée 1 medium cantaloupe (peeled, seeded, chopped) or 4 cups fresh strawberries or 4 cups seedless watermelon, 1 small cucumber (peeled, chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped red onion, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 cup half and half cream in a blender until smooth. Add 2 cups cooked chicken breast. Serve Gazpacho chilled, topped with thinly sliced fresh mint.

Curried Squash Soup

Servings: 4

Ingredients

2 butternut squash, peeled seeded and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 teaspoons mild curry powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup half and half cream

Sour cream, freshly cracked black pepper, cilantro sprigs (for serving)

Directions

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add squash, onion and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Add broth and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, 25-30 minutes. Purée until smooth. Serve soup chilled and topped with sour cream.

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or costa_magoulas@daytonastate.edu.

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