Hot and Cold Mad Science Soup Experiments

by Paul Fischer

It’s late. I’m wasted. It’s been a long hard day, but so relaxing and zen. Best of all, mad science cookery was involved.

We’re in the middle of golden squash and zucchini season. We’re also at the tail end of strawberry season. One more week, maybe two, and the fresh local strawberries will be gone gone gone.

This morning, after breakfast and some errands, we went to the Vienna farmer’s market and stocked up on the freshest produce. I considered the options for the veggies, and Martha mentioned our little scientist loves soup. So what could be better than squash zucchini soup? Two soups, that’s what. After a few minutes searching through the Interwebs, I added some fresh herbs and about a pound of sweet italian lamb sausage to the take home. After many hard hours of work, I present the recipes (as best as I can recall) for the mad science soups of the day: Cold Strawberry Soup and Squash Zucchini Soup.

Cold Strawberry Soup

I built this one large. I picked up 2 quarts of fresh strawberries and tried to add as little as possible to the taste. I based this on cooks.com recipe for my starting point. I opted for a lot more citrus and a lot less sugar. Most of the recipes I saw included some dairy, and that’s a no go for me. So I substituted coconut milk from the package. This is approximately what I used:

2 qt. fresh in season strawberries

Juice and zest of one orange, one lemon, one lime

1 cup sugar

1 package instant coconut milk

Enough water to cover the strawberries in the pot. I used at least 4 cups.

Making the soup was simplicity itself. Even Igor could do it.

Clean, dry, and remove the leaves and stems from the strawberries. Place them in a large pot on the stove. Add sugar. Zest the citrus and cut in half. Juice the citrus. Put the zest in the pot. Strain the pulp and seeds before putting the juice into the pot. Add enough water to cover. Add instant coconut milk powder.

Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Lower heat to lowest setting and allow to cool. Get out your stick blender and blend until smooth. Make sure not to sent the mixture flying, as you could get burned.

Allow the mixture to thicken to where you would like it to be. I reduced the water by about 1/3 from the end of cooking before I let the soup cool. Once cool, chill. Then serve as you please.

Squash Zucchini Soup

I had a lot of squash and zucchini. You will probably start with less. This one is simple. Igor could do it even when his brain is in the wash.

You’ll need:

a mess of squash and zucchini.

Chicken broth or Veggie Broth, low salt or salt free

About 3/4 lb. of sweet italian lamb (or pork) sausage. This is optional for the VEG among us.

Salt & Pepper

Fresh Parsley, Basil, & Cilantro (I used 1/2 a bunch of basil and a whole bunch of parsley & cilantro)

Peel the squash and zucchini. Cut into rounds and place in your stock pot. Add enough broth to cover. Add a little salt to start. You can add more later.

Put the sausages under your heat of choice and cook thoroughly. Let cool and cut into 1/2″ slices. Save grease to add to soup if desired. The lamb sausage didn’t have much, so I added it for flavor.

Cover. Simmer veggies for about 20 minutes making sure to stir every 5 minutes or so.

Wash the herbs and make sure the stalks are tender before putting the stocks, along with the leaves, into the pot. Let simmer for another 5 minutes to soften the herbs. Hit the whole thing with your immersion (stick) blender. Blend it smooth. Taste. Add salt & pepper as needed.

Make sure not to over salt. Add meat. Lower temperature and allow soup to reduce by 1/4 to 1/3.

Serve and enjoy hot.

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