With summa time comes summer squash, my friends. And lots of it, which leads us to a lovely predicament. What to do with all this squash? Anything you like! Summer squash can be eaten raw in salads, grilled, sauteed, roasted, steamed, battered and fried, baked in breads, curried, made into milkshakes…okay. Maybe not milkshakes like with ice cream- but isn’t soup the same principle? Take the star ingredient or flavor, coddle it to the peak of its deliciousness, and make it slurp-able.
That’s what I did with my sweet, unassuming, light zephyr squash this week on vegetarian Wednesday. It’s never (or very rarely) too hot for me to turn down a delicious bowl of soup, and the process of soup making is so peaceful, cathartic, zen, calming, therapeutic…I just don’t tire of it.
I was excited to start this pot with one of my fresh Georgia onions from the farm.
So crisp and tasty!
I melted 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat, and added one diced onion. I let it soften for about 7 – 10 minutes. Then I added my garlic- about 4 – 6 cloves depending on size.
I stirred the garlic in and waited until it became aromatic, about a minute. Then, I turned my heat up to medium high, added 3 Tablespoons of flour,
and stirred for just over a minute. Next, I added 3 cups of hot 2% milk
and continued to stir, waiting for the milk to thicken.
For seasoning, I grated some nutmeg, added salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne.
When the milk began to boil, I turned down my heat and added four cups of homemade veggie broth.
I let my broth come together, simmering over medium low heat for a good 20 – 30 minutes before adding my squash.
I cut 5 or 6 of those skinny squashes into discs.
The squash needed time to become tender, so I let it bubble away gently, stirring now and again.
Since this was a vegetarian batch of soup, I pulled out one of my new tricks. Silken tofu.
I’ve been scared of silken tofu for quite some time, not really knowing what to make of that fragile, slimy-ish rectangle of protein. But, I’ve discovered that silken tofu can easily be incorporated into soups and salad dressings, contributing protein without altering the flavor at all. The tofu actually acts as a bit of a thickener and purees down into pure liquid (unlike firm tofu, which does not like to be blended. Trust me.).
I simmered the pot a little while longer after adding the lemon juice and tofu, tasted it and adjusted the seasoning, including a pinch of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness of the squash. Then, I had one more ace up my sleeve.
Adding nuts to soup is common in raw cuisine, since they also provide protein and richness and work as thickening agents. I added about 1/2 Cup of almond slices.
Next, it was time to blend. I opted to ladle small batches into my food processor, because it makes for a super smooth soup.
And lastly, I grabbed a few handfuls of organic baby spinach to add color and texture to the soup, and because my vegetarian friend loves spinach in anything I make. You can totally skip it and leave the soup smooth and cream colored.
That soup tasted delectable. Velvety, and just a little bit sweet, the squash was the star of the show. The feedback from my clients was, “Rich, creamy, filling and delicious! The fresh spinach was a great touch.” Rich and creamy without any heavy cream or half and half! That’s a feat! This soup is good for your body, easy on the pocket, and a cinch to prepare.
So if you find yourself staring at a mound of summer squashes, and you’re not sure what to do, soup it right up. Maybe even try a new trick or two in the process. Most of all, enjoy the fruits of summer with those you love.
Happy cooking and eating,