Friday, June 5, 2009

Picnic Soup #1: Cold Avocado Soup

I'm going to go see the Indigo Girls at Wolftrap next week, and have been driving everyone around me a bit crazy by my obsessive menu planning. One thing that has stuck, however, was the idea of a cold soup, transported in a growler I got at a beer pub ages ago. I keep saying "a growler of gazpacho!" It took a while to hit on the gazapcho, though, and Outdoor Dining offers two potential growler-fillers. The first:
Cold Avocado Soup

2 avocados, halved and seeds removed
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) chicken stock
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) buttermilk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper (capsicum), halved
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

A rich, cold soup is a lovely start to a summer picnic; it is easy to carry in a large glass jar or vacuum flask.

Scrape the avocado flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the onion and stock and process until smooth.

Pour into a container and stir in the buttermilk and salt and pepper to taste. Put aside until ready to serve.

Put the bell pepper under a broiler (griller) until the skin blackens. Transfer to a paper bag and leave for about 30 minutes. Scrape off the blackened skin. Put the bell pepper into a food processor or blender with the Tabasco and purée. Transfer to a small jar.

To serve, add a dollop of the bell pepper purée to each bowl of avocado soup.

Serves 4

Cold Avocado Soup
Scallop and Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Salad (page 83)
Why is this soup not coming with me to the concert? Frankly, the idea of garnishing on site seems pointlessly fussy. I know, I could just serve the soup sans puree, should see how lovely this soup looks in the picture. Pale green, with a rush of vivid red. It's gorgeous. The soup will have to wait for a time that I'm eating outside...but within steps of the kitchen.

Every single recipe in Outdoor Dining is accompanied by a beautiful full-page photo. André Martin did the food photography, and Donna Hay, the food styling. Together, they make every dish look like something you simply have to try, right this very second. It's worth picking up a copy of the book (used, as it appears to be out of print), as the photos add so much.

I'm heading out of town for a wedding, so will be doubling up today, and when I return.

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