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Fresh summer produce. Cool to the taste and refreshing to the palette during hot summer days.
Serendipitiously, a cookbook arrived in the mail just as this month of July began. An unexpected surprise from a beloved long-time reader (thank you tremendously Sue 🙂 xoxo). Introducing me to British French chef Raymond Blanc who lives and cooks in Britain, his cookbook Simply Raymond: Recipes from Home is a must-have for the cook who loves simple, flavorful, celebratory meals of everyday living and doing so well.
The genesis of the cookbook is one to explore. Dedicated to his mother who sadly passed away just before the book was published this spring (April 2021), the compilation of recipes, while beginning prior to Covid’s arrival, largely was inspired by what chef Raymond Blanc cooked during the time of isolation.
The owner of the world-renowned two-star Michelin restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and his Brasserie Blanc restaurants, each recipe in this book shares his expertise and simplifying each precisely as necessary for accessibly by the home-cook while keeping the flavors to awe your tastebuds.
From his manifesto for cooking, living and working and his joie de vivre, I have a feeling he will inspire you to step into your kitchen and fall in love with cooking simple and deliciously flavorful dishes.
Perusing through Simply Raymond for the first time this past weekend, I dog-earred more than few recipes that immediately caught my eye, and as I sat down on Monday to plan my weekly meals and grocery list, the eye-catching green soup and ‘chilled’ descriptor made the menu immediately.
Make in 10 minutes – no, seriously – 10 minutes. Set in the fridge to chill and return to enjoy a fulfilling dish without once having to turn on the oven. I do hope you enjoy both the recipe and the cookbook.
Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup
- 1 medium – large avocado (ripe)
- 1 large cucumber (English if possible) using a spoon and remove the seeds
- 8" stalk celery depending upon the length of the celery stalk, use eight inches
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 50 g spinach (baby-leaf) approximately 8-15 leaves
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3-1/2 cup water 100 ml
- 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp fleur de sel
- pinch cayenne pepper optional
- 1/2 medium-large avocado diced
- pinch paprika (smoked) or cayenne pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh parsley
- Peel the cucumber, slice in half, length-wise, and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Chop into large, rough pieces.
- Chop into rough, coarse pieces the celery, shallot and one avocado. Peel the garlic. Place all of the above mentioned ingredients (cucumber, avocado, shallot, celery and garlic) into a food processor.
- Before blending, add to the food processor the spinach, olive oil, water, vinegar (champagne or white wine), salt and cayenne pepper. Blend/purée until smooth. Be sure to taste and season with more water or pepper or salt.
- Place in a bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. I have made mine a day ahead and it was wonderfully cool and refreshing.
- To serve, prepare the three items for topping (dice the avocado, keep small leaves of parsley, etc.). Distribute the soup into bowls and garnish with your preferred toppings. I have also used greek whole-fat yogurt which adds a lovely richness. Enjoy!
Explore more TSLL Recipes here.