Chilled Summer Squash And Basil Soup
Squash and basil are both warm season vegetables that you can plant in your vegetable garden after the last frost date in spring. One squash plant and one basil will provide enough ingredients for this chilled soup from the kitchen of Ashley's Restaurant at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Plant squash in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Summer squash prefers nutrient rich, well-drained soil. Prepare the ground for squash by mixing in a 3-inch layer of compost along with a timed-release or organic fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label. Set 3 transplants in hills spaced at least 30 inches apart. A light mulch is sufficient.
Squash bears both male and female flowers. The female flowers are easy to identify by looking for a tiny squash below the blossoms. Male flowers are borne atop a bare stem. To help female flowers develop into squash, bees and other small insects pay numerous visits, leaving behind trails of pollen brought from male blossoms. Male flowers often drop to the ground at the end of their life; don't be alarmed, as this is normal.
BasilBasil loves hot weather. Set your plants out after the last frost date. Basil grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. Mother Nature usually provides enough water for basil, but water deeply on a weekly basis during dry spells. Plants grown in containers dry out faster so water them more frequently. Avoid splashing water on the leaves.
Basil is not a heavy feeder. Apply fish emulsion or a 05-10-05 liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once during the growing season.
The more you harvest, the more the plant will produce. You can start clipping basil leaves as soon as the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. Pinch or snip the leaves as needed. Remove the lowest leaves first. Do not cut the entire plant back during the growing season; it will not re-sprout.
Cut the squash length-wise, discarding the cores with the seeds. You just want the yellow flesh and skin. This is where the flavor is. The seeds are mainly water.
Heat the onions in a saucepan until just soft.
Add the squash and season with salt. Heat for another 5 minutes.
Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and thev cinnamon stick.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash are tender.
Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the soup to a blender. Puree until smooth.
Chill the soup in the refrigerator for 30-minutes to an hour.
To make the basil garnish mix together chopped basil leaves, lemon zest, minced garlic and olive oil.
Ladle the chilled soup into bowls, drizzle with the basil olive oil and serve.
Time to prepare: 1 hour, 5 minutes.
This recipe is vegetarian.