Friday, 9 July 2010

Budding Tastes

Cold soups seem kind of odd, don't they? To many people, cold soup is an oxymoron. But that really isn't true is it? Yeah sure you can call many fruit soups a smoothie. Cantaloupe, Honeydew and even Cucumber Soup is often uncooked and pureed and served chilled. Throw in some flavours and, well, that's it. But there are others that are slightly more complex. Take Vichyssoise for example. If anybody can provide for me a recipe for a no-cook Vichyssoise, please feel free and send it off and I'll give it a shot and I'll post it on the blog.

I have made this recipe many times and often with different types of apples. It is striking how much the soup changes every time in both taste and appearance. I first tried with Granny Smiths and it was too tart. Pink Lady wasn't bad but had an odd colour of pinkish brown. It didn't look right. Empires and Macintosh worked well in each occasion and in my mind had the best and so the last time I experimented I used both.

If you are a fan of cold soups, and I know that many of you are not, remember that it is a great way to experiment on any flavour combination. Having said that, remember that taste buds are more sensitive to salt when the soup (or anything for that matter) is hot. Cold food and drinks tones down the palate. So, what does that mean? If you are preparing any cold soup that is first cooked then chilled, season to taste after chilling so you know exactly how it tastes for presentation.

I'm going to give my Humble Chef's tip a little early: if you are being forced to eat something somewhat unpleasant, but is probably very healthy for you, drink a glass of ice water right before consuming. Yes, it really does dull the taste buds for a short amount of time.

I am being very restraint in not providing a sarcastic remark regarding the many unpleasant meals I have eaten over the years. Truth is, I was probably the cook who made most of them.

Cold Apple Curry Soup

Dab of Butter
1 Cooking Onion, roughly chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic
8 Empire Apples, quartered and cored, skin on
12 MacIntosh Apples, quartered and cored, skin on
250 ml White Wine
1 L Vegetable Stock
.5 L Apple Cider
Tbs. Tumeric
Tsp. Dried Ginger
Tsp. Cumin
Tsp. Coriander Seed
Tsp. Clove
Tsp. Cinnamon
Tsp. Cayenne
100 g Old Cheddar, grated, for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a tall stock pot, melt butter and cook onions for 1 minute. Add all spices and garlic and stir frequently. Cook for 4 - 5 minutes or until spices are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add apples and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and resuce by half. Add stock and bring to a boil and let simmer for 8 - 10 minutes. Puree and remove from heat. Add cider and let cool rapidly in an ice bath. Adjust to taste.

Garnish with cheddar and something green. Whatever.

Serves 6 - 8.

Variation: this recipe works with Anjou Pears. Make sure the pears (even the apples for that matter) are very ripe.

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