Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adventures in Juice Land Aided by Cold Soup

Earlier this year Chef Sue purchased a juicer.  I was skeptical.  Back in the mid 90s, we had a juicer which was a great idea, but cleaning the damn thing hardly justified the end result.  Things have changed since the 90s.  Today's juicers are better designed and easy to clean.  Making fresh juice now takes less time, from start to cleanup, than brewing a pot of coffee.

Since the time of her juicer purchase, Chef Sue concocted increasingly complex juices more and more frequently.  I was amused.  Eventually she began replacing meals with fresh juices made from kale, cucumber, spinach, celery, beats, carrots, apples, berries, oranges, melon, grapefruit, pineapple and just about everything else you can find at the farm stand.  I continued to smirk and giggle - when she wasn't looking.  Then I realized she was shedding weight.  Wow, there might be something to this.

After a bit of thought, I became less mocking and more intrigued.  Think about it; how big of a vegetable basket do you need to equal the calories in your perfectly prepared steak?  And what are the nutritional differences?  Now take that basket of vegetables and run them through a juicer to extract all the important stuff.  The result is a nutrient rich condensation of raw, unprocessed fresh veggies and fruits with comparably few calories.  It started to make sense to me, and I joined in Chef Sue's juicing - on occasion.

Chef Sue's juicer subversion strategy was beginning to take hold.  A couple of weeks ago, she sealed the deal.  One night she asked if I wanted to watch a documentary on juicing.  I reluctantly agreed.  After watching the movie, I decided to jump in with both feet.  If you care to watch the video "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" here is the link:  I have been doing the juicing thing now for nearly two weeks and have shed seven pounds, regained lost hair, regrown a finger lost in a tragic golf accident, and watched that nasty rash disappear.  Well, at least I did lose the seven pounds.

Being a firm believer in moderation, I cannot live only on juice (or any other restrictive miracle diet).  I cannot live without something to chew on, and cannot imagine sustaining myself without the world of flavors I enjoy.  So I modified the approach to include principally cold soups (great during the heat of summer!), not feeling guilty if I decided to pan sear scallops, or enjoy a nice meal of pulled pork with friends.  And to my joy, I recalled that wine is grape juice!  No need to dump my favorite beverage!

Several bushels of fruits and veggies, and 7 pounds lighter, I am happy with my compromise.  Over the last couple of weeks I have researched/created several cool summer soups with something to chew on.  The only exception is the first recipe - I made this simply to satisfy my desire for wonderful flavor and a touch of variety (warm soup).

And don't worry, I have not conceded our routine wine pairing extravaganzas.  On the menu for this evening is crab bisque, fried crab and grit balls, crawfish and cheese grits (a take on shrimp and grits), and fried aligator strips paired with a yet to be determined Riesling.  My mouth is watering already!

Here are the recipes for the soups I have used to supplement the juice program.


Curried Zucchini Soup


  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise then cut into 1 inch sections
  2. In a 4 quart or larger pot, sauté onions until tender with olive oil.  About half way through the process add the minced garlic.
  3. Add curry powder and stir to coat evenly.
  4. Add zucchini, chicken broth, and coconut milk.  Cover and continue to cook over medium low heat until zucchini is tender – about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender.
  6. Season to taste and serve.



  • 5 ripe tomatoes 
  • 2 large cucumbers, chopped 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped black olives 
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
  • 2 1/2 cups water 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced 


  1. Score a cross in the base of each tomato. Cover with boiling water for 1 minute, plunge into cold water, drain and peel away the skin. Remove seeds and chop the flesh so finely that it is almost a puree. 
  2. Mix together the tomatoes, 1 of the chopped cucumbers, 1 of the chopped green pepper, garlic, olives, vinegar, oil and tomato paste, and season to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. 
  3. Use 2 to 3 cups of chilled water to thin the soup to your taste. Serve chilled with the chopped onion, green pepper, scallions, cucumber, and herbs and served separately for diners to add to their own bowls. 

Mango Gazpacho


  • 2 fresh mangos 1/4-inch-diced 
  • 2 cups orange juice 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice 
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice 
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, basil or cilantro 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

  1. Process mangoes, orange juice and oil in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, along with remaining ingredients. 
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Watermelon Gazpacho


  • 6 cups cubed seeded watermelon 
  • 2 cucumbers, chopped 
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 
  • 3 tablespoons honey 
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice 
  • 20 small mint leaves 


  1. Reserve a dozen (or so) small pieces of watermelon for garnish. 
  2. Working in batches, place the remaining watermelon, the cucumbers, red bell peppers, onion, jalapeño pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, 3 tablespoons of fresh mint, the ginger, honey, and pineapple juice into a blender, and blend for about 30 seconds per batch. 
  3. The mixture should be well blended but retain some texture. Pour into a large bowl, and refrigerate 1 hour. Serve in bowls, and garnish each bowl with a couple of chunks of the retained watermelon and 2 small mint leaves. 

Avocado and Tomato Soup


  • 4 large tomatoes 
  • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced 
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels 
  • 2 tomatoes, diced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
  • salt and pepper to taste 


  1. Using a juicer, extract the juice of the 4 large tomatoes. 
  2. In a medium bowl combine the tomato juice, avocado, corn, 2 diced tomatoes, cilantro, and lemon juice. 
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill for 1 hour and transfer to serving bowls. 

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup


  • 1 cantaloupe - peeled, seeded and cubed 
  • 2 cups orange juice 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 


  1. Peel, seed, and cube the cantaloupe. 
  2. Place cantaloupe and 1/2 cup orange juice in a blender or food processor; cover, and process until smooth. 
  3. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in lime juice, cinnamon, and remaining orange juice. 
  4. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Garnish with mint if desired. 

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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