Keeping Cool with the Cool Guys-MainPhoto

Beccaglia-Keeping Cool Cucumbers-Photo2 copyCUCUMBER SOUP
Serves: 6

4 pounds cucumbers (about 4 large cucumbers), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2-3 cups casaba melon, seeded and cubed
3 ribs celery, peeled and chopped
2 yellow bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, coarsely chopped
5 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
½ red onion, coarsely chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced (for more heat, you may also use jalapeño or habanero)
1 chipotle chile, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
½ Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 Tbsp French lavender
4 garlic cloves, peeled, minced or mashed to a paste
Sea salt (or Kosher) and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp sweet paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cup sour cream, divided
1 cup coconut milk
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or more if needed
Juice of 2 limes
Fresh chives, minced, for garnish (chop at the end to preserve freshness)

Note: I know the ingredients list looks long, but the preparation takes no time once you gather them and get them ready to go.

1. Combine all the ingredients, herbs and spices with the yogurt, 1 cup of sour cream, coconut milk, extra virgin olive oil, and lime juice in a large bowl. Combine well using your hands or large spoon.
2. Transfer to a blender and working in batches, puree until very smooth. Add more liquid (water or olive oil) if the mixture gets to thick.
3. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2-3 hours.
4. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup in previously chilled bowls and garnish with a dollop of the remaining cup of sour cream on top (you can also use creme fraiche or mascarpone) and fresh chives.

Optional Garnish Ideas: fresh corn, fried avocado, fried shallots, fried garlic chips or fried cucumber sticks (recipe next recipe)