Buttermilk Peach Soup
2 ½ lb ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
1 cup buttermilk (whole or low-fat, not fat-free)
2 T. lemon juice, fresh
1 T. Honey (or brown sugar)
⅛ t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. salt
Fresh mint, or basil
Peel the peaches with a sharp vegetable peeler over a large bowl, then chop coarsely. Save all the peach juice.
Add the peaches to a blender jar. Add buttermilk, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Put the top tightly on the blender jar, and set the blender to its highest setting. Process for about 3-4 minutes, or until it looks smooth. Taste and add more honey or salt if necessary. Add up to 1 cup water if the soup seems too thick. Pour into a clean pitcher with a lid, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Chill six soup bowls. To serve, stack mint or basil leaves, roll into a cigar shape, then cut into thin ribbons with a sharp knife. Pour the cold soup into the chilled bowls, and garnish with the mint.
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Herbs
4 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ - ½ cup good quality olive oil
⅓ cup loosely packed dill, plus 1 T. for garnishing
¼ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tablespoons loosely packed tarragon leaves
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 t. salt
¼ t. white pepper
Add half of the cucumbers to a blender jar with half of the yogurt, half of the olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 shallot, and half of the herbs. Blend at high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until very smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Add the remainder of the cucumbers, yogurt, olive oil, shallot, garlic, and herbs to the blender jar, and process at high speed until smooth. Pour into bowl. Whisk in the sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Taste and correct the seasonings. Pour into a clean pitcher and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Chill six soup bowls. To serve, mince once tablespoon of fresh dill. Pour the cold soup into the chilled bowls, and garnish with the dill.