Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Fresh Dill

I really lucked out 27 years ago when I met my husband--he's such a great guy.  When I told him in December 2009 that I was going vegan he said, "no problem" and that he was in "solidarity" with me.  And since, he's never complained or made any negative comments about eating a plant-based diet.  So when I told him that we were going mostly raw and gluten free for the next three weeks, he said it "sounded good" and that he's with the program.

Well just about every weekday morning he has oatmeal for breakfast.  So I did some research and read that Bob's Red Mill Steel Oats is gluten free and so I purchased a bag from Whole Foods.  And sticking with the raw portion of the program I decided to soak them overnight and serve him raw oat cereal in the morning with raw almond milk.  Let me just say that that didn't go over very well.  When I told him that he was having "raw oats" for breakfast, he looked at me and said, "are you serious?", and he looked really bummed.  So no "raw oats" for him over the next three weeks!  Also, he has been asking me to make chilled watermelon gazpacho for the past three years and I never make it for him.  We used to serve it at the restaurant and I got so burned out on it that I just haven't made it since.  So instead of making gazpacho, I made him Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Fresh Dill and Cashew Cream.  Well it was a big hit and he forgot all about the raw oat disaster and the watermelon least for the time being!
(Serves 2)

1 small English cucumber, peeled and diced (about three cups)
1 large ripe, but green Hass avocado, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp minced dill leaves, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup cashew cream
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup freshly squeezed or unpasteurized orange juice
2 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • Soak 1/2 cup cashews overnight or for at least four hours in filtered water.
  • Drain water and place cashews in a blender and add fresh filtered water to cover.
  • Blend on high for about 3-4 minutes until creamy, adding additional water if too thick.  Set aside.
  • In a food processor add cucumber, avocado, garlic, cashew cream and water and blend until smooth, scraping down sides and blending again.
  • Add orange juice, dill and salt and pepper to taste and blend again.
  • If to thick add additional juice or water to thin.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours for flavors to combine.
  • Once chilled taste again for salt and pepper.  As ingredients become colder they lose flavor so you may need to adjust the seasonings.
  • Garnish with dill springs and cashew cream.
I served the soup with a mesclun salad with shaved raw beets, orange segments, and raw pumpkin seeds with an aged-sherry vinaigrette.  Really fresh and delicious!

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