For a moment, let’s reflect on what a lucky feeling it is to find yourself in a cookout rut. It means you have been able to get yourself good food, you have friends to share it with, and you’ve been together, outside, while the sun dips below the horizon next to you. Once you’ve done this a few times, however, it’s not hard to feel like you’ve grilled every single thing that can be thrown on a grill.
What an immense privilege it is to be able to socialize outside by choice. It feels so special to come back together after this destabilizing year, to be able to hug our friends, and even to invite folks back inside. I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to make the time we spend together and the food we eat together as special as possible.
This feeling exists concurrently with two others: one, the regular social, emotional, and physical exhaustion that summer brings for those of us who work here during it, and, two, the fact that it is so sweaty outside. It’s a tricky balancing act — wanting to treat the ones you love to new and exciting things, while you also want to lie down in the nearest pool of shallow water until the sun goes down. You certainly can’t turn on the oven — please, don’t turn on the oven — but you want their eyes to light up while they ask, “What is this new treat?”
It’s no secret that soup is my favorite genre of food, so it will not surprise you to hear that cold soup is my subject today. This one happens to be refreshing, luxurious, the tiniest bit bracing, and, incidentally, vegan. (I say “incidentally” only to indicate that you sacrifice absolutely nothing here in the service of feeding your friends who stick to plant-based eating.)
I will add that, for those whose friends aren’t vegans, this soup can change up your cookout routine by appearing as a first course counterpoint to grilled bluefish or burgers.
Carrot soup is beautiful to look at. Its color always takes people by surprise. And, best of all, it comes together in about 10 minutes. It tastes like you’ve done a tremendous amount of work, when, really, it’s just that you’ve ingeniously let avocado and olive oil turn themselves into cream. Which is not a new trick, exactly. I got it from Molly Wizenberg’s late blog, Orangette. She says she got it from Gourmet, if you can remember back that far. But in a new season, and in case you missed it, it’s a trick you really do need to know about.
One thing: this soup is made from very few ingredients, so it’s important that they all taste good. Seek out the freshest, coldest carrot juice from the refrigerated section of the grocery store (or juice them in your juicer if you are the kind of person who owns one of those things). Make sure your avocados are ripe, but not browning. Don’t skimp on the lime juice, and make sure you use fresh ginger. Find a curry powder you really like the taste of. Make it special but make it easy. Don’t turn on the oven — don’t even turn on the stove.
Gingered Carrot Soup With Avocado
Serves 6 as an appetizer
2 ripe avocados
4 cups carrot juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. curry powder
6 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. olive oil
In a blender, purée one and a half of the avocados with the carrot juice, salt, 5 tsp. of the lime juice, the curry powder, ginger, and olive oil until very smooth.
Cut the remaining half avocado into a small dice, and gently toss with the remaining teaspoon of lime juice and another pinch of sea salt and curry powder.
Let the soup chill until you’re ready to serve it — it can hang out in the fridge for up to a day. Serve the soup with a spoonful of the seasoned avocado dice.