Chef Ken’s love of cooking began when his father moved his family from California to Yvoire, France. He achieved national recognition at age 21 at the famous Los Angeles restaurant La Guillotine and has continued that meteoric rise ever since. Today helming his critically acclaimed and heavily awarded Napa Valley institution, La Toque, Chef Ken continues to set the bar for excellence and change the way we experience the world around us through food.
With the farmer’s markets reaching their stride, now is the time to celebrate summer produce. This chilled soup is a favorite of mine – easy to make in advance and a bright starter for a hot summer day.
Cucumbers are naturally high in water content, making cucumber soup an excellent way to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather. Cucumbers also provide a healthy dose of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium; these essential nutrients play crucial roles in bone health, immune function, and muscle relaxation. Additionally, cucumbers are known to contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene and flavonoids. These compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and promoting cellular health.
Boasting a rich content of dietary fiber, cucumbers promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation. Consuming cucumber soup can help support a well-functioning digestive system.
For those looking to manage their weight, cucumber soup is a fantastic option. With minimal calories and no unhealthy additives, it can be an excellent choice for those seeking a light yet satisfying meal.
The buttermilk gives it a nice tang, but is much lighter than a more traditional soup made with heavy cream. If you can find Armenian Cucumbers, they are simply the best.
But wait! Buttermilk? Garlic? Gasp. Aren’t these verboten in refluxing circles?
There are as many iterations of reflux as there are reflux sufferers. I am one of the fortunate LPR sufferers for whom a serving of Reflux Gourmet’s Mint Chocolate Rescue before bed takes care of all my needs. (Mint and chocolate you ask? This is a great example of these flavors being in a form incapable of triggering reflux, but fully wonderful as an “after dinner mint” for reflux sufferers!)
Perhaps simply balancing the overall acidity of an entire meal is what works for you – remember, it’s not the components, but the whole of the meal. Or perhaps you only suffer from certain triggers and merely finding appropriate substitutions takes care of your needs – did you know powdered garlic is less acidic than fresh garlic? The bottom line is to remember that food is not your enemy, and every recipe is an opportunity…and in case you were wondering – this finished recipe actually falls at a pH of 5 – a fine place to be for those with reflux. Don’t judge a dish by its ingredients alone.
This soup, a refreshing and nutritious dish, has gained popularity for its delightful taste and various health benefits – AND, much like most dishes that end up in front of you, it can be tailored to your individual needs. Packed with essential nutrients and low in calories, cucumber soup is an excellent option for the dinner table on a sultry summer evening.
I encourage you to look at each meal, not as an obstacle, but an opportunity to find your way to happiness. Cooking and eating are love languages not to be missed out on by anyone.
Chilled Cucumber Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 white onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 qt peeled, seeded chunks of fresh cucumber
1 cup buttermilk
1 pint water
salt & white pepper to taste
sprigs of fresh dill
Cook the sliced onion in olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan until tender and clear. Add the garlic and cook to soften, about 1 minute, still no color. Add the cucumber, buttermilk, and water. Pre-season with some salt and fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 30 minutes.
Transfer to blender and blend for 1 minute on high speed, until the soup is velvety smooth.
Test for seasoning and consistency. Adjust with salt and/or water as necessary.
Chill until ready to serve.
Serve topped with a drizzle of good olive oil and sprigs of fresh dill.