If you like tzatziki sauce, here is a soup for you

“I thought you could make something out of this,” site designer Lyndsay Bartos said Monday as she welcomed me with a gift of two large green cucumbers.

Aha! A challenge!

My first thought was cucumber salad – and I probably would have gone in that direction, except that not even a week earlier Mark had featured a cucumber salad in his Times Leader test kitchen column.

Figuring it would be better to make something different for my trip in the test kitchen, I started researching summery soups that could be served cold.

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And thanks to a very easy recipe I found on eatingwell.com, I served Creamy Cucumber Soup on Tuesday afternoon and collected comments from the newsroom taste testers:

“It tastes really good,” said page designer Toni Pennello. “I’ve never had cold soup before, but I knew gazpacho was a thing. It’s a little weird to get used to. I feel like I’m eating tzatziki sauce.”

Tzatziki sauce, a condiment that often accompanies Mediterranean dishes like tabbouleh or a gyro, would likely contain some of the same ingredients as this soup—namely, cucumbers, yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. But it probably didn’t want the avocado or the vegetable broth.

“It’s very refreshing. I like it a lot,” said reporter Kevin Carroll, noting that he’s a fan of cucumbers. He also couldn’t remember ever eating soup designed to be served cold.

“There aren’t many cold soups out there,” said columnist Bill O’Boyle. “But it’s a good one. I enjoyed it, for one thing.”

Truth be told, this recipe specified that the cucumber soup could be served hot or cold. Mark and I tried it warm at home and he thought it gave the soup a certain “smart, comfort-food” aspect. I liked it both ways, but decided to cool it down for the editorial because the taste testers usually appreciate cool food in the summer.

“You seem to like these summer foods,” said news editor Roger DuPuis, giving the soup a thumbs up.

“I’m trying to make vegetables tastier,” I said.

“You succeed,” he said.

Then we exchanged a glance and realized that we sounded like neither of us consider vegetables tasty. But we both like them – a lot.

I thought I was trying to make vegetables palatable to other people who might be shy about trying them.

“My way of eating was more closed before,” Kevin said helpfully. “I never would have tried some of these things if you hadn’t brought them in.”

Outside the newsroom, I managed to give a sample soup to two long-time veggie fans – my mother and my friend Valerie. “It’s so delicious,” my mom said as Valerie approvingly listed some of the health benefits of cucumbers, including that they help regulate blood sugar.

“I’ve heard that diabetics should eat them every day,” Valerie said.

Perhaps ironically, the only person who tried the soup and didn’t like it was Lyndsay, who had given me the cucumbers in the first place.

“Mary Therese, I knew I wouldn’t like it,” she said. “But I’m glad I tried it, and I’m glad you used the cucumbers. I’m just not a cucumber person.”

Well, gentle readers, if you ARE cucumber people, enjoy this recipe from eatingwell.com/.

CREAMED ARGE SOUP

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small diced onion

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 cups peeled, seeded and thinly sliced ​​cucumbers, divided

1 1/2 dl vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth

½ tsp salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 diced avocado

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

½ cup low-fat yogurt

Step 1

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 3/4 cups cucumber slices, broth, salt, pepper, and cayenne; bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until cucumbers are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.

Step 2

Transfer the soup to a blender. Add avocado and parsley; blend on low speed until smooth. (Be careful when pureeing hot liquids.) Pour into a serving bowl and stir in yogurt. Chop remaining 1/4 cup cucumber slices. Serve the soup warm or in the fridge and serve it chilled. Just before serving, garnish with chopped cucumber and possibly more chopped parsley.