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Don’t Hire a Caterer: Staying Cool with Summer Soups

DON'T HIRE A CATERER: STAYING COOL WITH SUMMER SOUPS

By Georgette Farkas

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes with that extra special touch that makes food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

This month, Georgette finds ways to beat the heat both in the kitchen and at the table with some divine summer soups.

The success of these summer soups is in the bright, bold flavors, which you can adjust to suit your own palate. Serving them well chilled will make a big difference. You might even go the extra mile and chill your soup bowls. We suggest pouring the soups tableside so that your
guests will enjoy the garnish you’ve arranged in each bowl. Pour only enough to come just about halfway up the sides of the garnish so that the colorful fruits and vegetables remain visible. Alternatively, serve the chilled soups as an hors d’oeuvre, poured into shot glasses or small juice glasses. For the latter, select one of the garnishes, such as a cucumber slice or small melon wedge. Make a small incision and place a garnish over the edge of each glass.

There are several equipment options when it comes to puréeing the soups. Choose a food processor, a blender or even an immersion or stick blender. If using the  latter, be sure to use a high sided container to avoid splattering.

Check out the recipes below or download the recipe packet by clicking the button below. 

RECIPE: CHILLED CANTALOUPE, LIME & LILLET SOUP

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 1 cantaloupe (or other ripe, orange-fleshed melon), chilled, peeled, and seeded
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup Lillet
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the garnish

  • 12 cantaloupe balls
  • 1 tsp lime segments, diced
  • 1 tsp Lillet
  • 12 petals from edible flowers such as nasturtium or marigold (optional)

Procedure

  1. Cut peeled and seeded cantaloupe into one inch pices. Place about 1/4 of the melon pieces in blender or food processor and process at high speed until puréed. Gradually add remaining melon, processing until smooth.
  2. Add lime juice and Lillet and blend briefly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend again. If desired, for a more refined consistency, strain soup through fine sieve or even a sieve lined with cheese cloth.
  3. Chill soup until ready to serve. Serve ice cold.
  4. Toss melon balls and lime dice garnish in just enough Lillet to coat. Arrange in individual chilled soup bowls. Arrange edible flowers over melon balls and lime. Pour well chilled soup around garnish.

RECIPE: WATERMELON AND THAI CHILI GAZPACHO

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 6 cups seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 leaves Thai basil
  • 1 tsp Thai chili paste (or to taste)
  • 1 red bell pepper, stems and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

For the garnish

  • 1 cup watermelon, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ⅓ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ⅓ cup micro basil (optional)

Procedure

  1. Place watermelon, cucumbers, Thai basil, Thai chili paste, bell peppers, tomatoes and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Purée on high until very smooth. Add vinegar and olive oil, and blend to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste.
  2. Chill soup until ready to serve. Serve ice cold.
  3. Arrange garnish ingredients in individual chilled soup bowls. Pour well chilled soup around garnish.

RECIPE: CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP

with Smoked Salmon and Dill

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2 long European hothouse cucumbers, peeled, split lengthwise
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp fresh dill
  • 1 tsp fresh mint
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste

For the garnish

  • 4 tsp cucumber, diced
  • 2 oz smoked salmon, julienned
  • 1 sprig fresh dill

 

Procedure

  1. Using a teaspoon, scrape seeds from the split cucumbers. Thinly slice cucumbers and blanch in boiling salted water for two to three minutes. Drain and shock in ice water.
  2. Transfer blanched cucumbers to blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, dill, mint and salt to taste. Purée until smooth. Add yogurt and two to three drops of tobacco sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Chill soup until ready to serve. Serve ice cold.
  4. Arrange diced cucumber garnish and a few strands of julienned smoked salmon in chilled soup bowls. Top with sprigs of dill. Pour well chilled soup around garnish.