Originally created 07/17/02

Cold avocado soup chills hot summer days



Winter is usually considered soup season. But, a cold soup in the summer can be a refreshing change of pace.

Cold soups were an integral part of entertaining years ago, and cookbooks from the 1950s, '60s and even the early '70s are full of cold soup recipes. The classic cold soup is the chilled potato-leek recipe for vichyssoise, but recipes for cold avocado soups abound as well.

While cold soups have fallen out of favor somewhat, I think they make perfect sense during the hot summer months. So, this week and next, I'm sharing recipes for two of my favorite cold soup combinations.

This week's Avocado-Lime Soup is lusciously rich and simple to prepare. It's a combination of ripe avocado, reduced-fat sour cream, chicken broth and fresh lime juice, all pureed in the blender or food processor.

Cold soups usually require several hours to chill, and that means planning. However, if most of the ingredients are chilled and waiting in the refrigerator - for example, the sour cream and the chicken broth - then you'll be able to serve your soup right away. Freezing your serving bowls also will help keep the soup cold. Once the ingredients are processed in the blender, I add a garnish of more diced avocado along with some diced tomato.

While this recipe offers a basic version of the soup, you can alter the recipe slightly to jazz it up a bit. The soup could take a turn toward Mexico with the addition of half a teaspoon each of chili powder and ground cumin. Top with a dollop of chunky salsa and some diced jalapeno.

For a pretty and fun table setting, I like to serve the soup in martini glasses along with turkey tortilla wraps. To prepare the wraps, spread herb-and-garlic-seasoned cream cheese on flour tortillas, then layer with deli turkey, lettuce leaves and diced tomato. Make the soup the centerpiece of your meal by topping it with cooked and peeled shrimp, lump crabmeat or shredded chicken, and serve with tortilla chips on the side.

3 ripe avocados

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

CHILLED AVOCADO-LIME SOUP

1 14.5-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, chilled

Juice of 2 limes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional

Dash Tabasco

Diced avocado, optional, for garnish

Diced fresh tomato, optional, for garnish

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled. Pour the soup into serving bowls and top with diced avocado and tomato, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

COMING JULY 17: Chilled Cucumber Soup

See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).

 Calories: 154
 Protein: 4.4 g
 Carbohydrates: 9.4 g
 Fiber: 3.3 g
 Fat: 12.3 g
 Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
 Cholesterol: 10 mg
 Sodium: 181 mg
 Nutrient analysis provided by Fran Frye, a licensed and registered dietitian of the Augusta District Dietetic Association. Send questions via e-mail to augustadietitian@yahoo.com.