Did I mention it’s been hot here? Like really, REALLY hot. Like high 90s with high humidity hot. Like New York City in August stuck on the 3 express at rush hour hot. You get the picture. One way we try to beat the heat here is to picnic along the banks of the Seine. Not that any rejuvenating cool ocean breezes come off that river, nor would you dare put a foot in (you might end up growing an extra toe!) but it’s much more pleasant than sitting in a sweltering apartment or a crowded cafe with smoke lazily curling past your face. Our favorite spot is on the Port de la Tournelle where we are treated to gorgeous sunsets with Notre Dame and Pont de l’Archeveche as the backdrop. I know, pinch me.

I’ve been subsisting on watermelon and ice cream so I was so excited to receive my friend Gwen Walter’s culinary newsletter, Pen and Fork, a week ago with a delicious recipe for Chilled Lemon Ginger Carrot Soup. This I could do! This recipe is from her cookbook, The Great Ranch Cookbook and since Gwen lives in Arizona, I figured she knew a thing or two about HOT.

Cooking the soup nearly killed me as I was loathe to even approach the stove much less turn it on. It was so hot (how hot was it?!) I didn’t need to turn the burner on the melt the butter! But I persevered and the results were well worth it – a light, refreshing, lemony, cheerful soup perfect for these sweltering summer days.

Chilled Lemon Ginger Carrot Soup – serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound carrots, peeled, and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 generous tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
zest of 1 lemon
2 (14 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth
water as needed
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger (optional)
4 tablespoon tiny shrimp or lump crabmeat (optional)

1. Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, ginger, cayenne and lemon zest.

2. Cook an addition 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently to coat carrots with the butter and evenly distribute the ginger, cayenne and zest.

3. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a good simmer and cook until carrots are fork tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have one, you can use a blender. (CAUTION: Hot liquid shoots straight up in a blender so do not fill more than half full, unless you have a Vita Mix with variable speed, which can handle the whole amount.) If it is too thick, add water in 1/4 cup increments until you have your desired consistency.

5. Whisk in lemon juice. Taste, and add salt if desired.

6. This step is optional. Here I strained the soup in a mesh strainer. This isn’t necessary, but I was just in the mood and it was still a bit too thick for me on such a hot day.

Note: Always use a metal spoon to push the soup through, never a wooden spoon because the mesh will catch on the spoon creating tiny splinters.

7. Chill soup in an ice bath and refrigerate until completely chilled. May be prepared the day before.

8. To serve, ladle about a cup of soup in chilled soup bowls or cups. Garnish with a sprinkling of chives and candied ginger, about a half teaspoon each for each serving. The garnishes are optional but really take it to an explosive flavor level.

Note: If you want to dress it up, top it with some chilled cooked shrimp or lump crabmeat.

Bon Appetit!

Cold Soup for a Hot Day 22 July,2006Cucina Testa Rossa

  • shuna fish lydon

    When I discovered how to make ginger-carrot soup I made it all the time. It is indeed refreshing.

    But I am so happy that you, too, know that ice cream is a food group. Thanks for co-signing me on that one.


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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