Chilled Cucumber Soup
Served with Black Bean Quesadillas
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Adapted from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley
- 3 large cucumbers (1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 bunch mint
- 2 pounds zucchini
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 2 scallions
- 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
- 3/4 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
- Tomato salsa, purchased or homemade
- Two 15-ounce cans black beans
- 8 flour tortillas (8 inches in diameter)
- Black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Sea salt or Kosher salt
- Chef’s knife
- Heavy skillet
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Paring knife
- Sheet pan
- Wooden spoons
- Dessert: Fruit granita and cookies
- When you walk in the door
- Preheat the broiler
- Get out Pantry Items
- Get out Tools
- Assemble the ingredients
- Open the wine
- Get someone to set the table; remember soup spoons!
- Cut the cucumbers in half, lengthwise. Scoop out their seeds with a spoon and discard. Coarsely chop the cucumbers and put them in blender or food processor.
- Peel and coarsely chop 1 clove garlic and put it in the blender with the cucumber.
- Rinse and pat dry the mint. Pluck 1/3 cup leaves.
- Add 1 cup yogurt to the blender, along with 1-1/2 tbsps. olive oil and 2 tsps. vinegar. Puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mince the mint and stir it into the soup. Refrigerate.
- Trim and grate the zucchini on the large holes of the grater. Put it in a colander and toss it with 1-1/2 tsps. salt, using your fingers. Squeeze the zucchini to remove most of its liquid, then put the zucchini in a large bowl.
- Trim the jalapeno and finely chop it, with the seeds and the pith (if you like heat. If you don’t, remove the seeds and pith). Add it to the zucchini.
- Trim the 2 scallions and finely chop them. Add them to the zucchini.
- Coarsely grate the cheese, and add it to the zucchini.
- Rinse and drain the beans, and add to the zucchini. Toss everything together, really well.
- Start Cooking
- Brush 8 tortillas with oil.
- To make the quesadillas, divide the bean mixture among 4 tortillas, pressing it down so it stays in place, and making sure it goes right to the edges of the tortillas. Top each with another tortilla, oiled side on top.
- Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Place a quesadilla in the pan and cook until the cheese melts and the tortillas are golden-brown, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining quesadillas. If you have 2 skillets, use them both to cook the quesadillas more quickly. (You can also use the broiler, setting the broiler rack 6-inches from the heat source, broiling the quesadillas about 2 minutes per side).
- When the quesadillas are cooked, arrange them on a serving platter. Garnish with mint sprigs, and take to the table along with the cucumber soup and the salsa. Dinner is served, Olé!
- When you walk in the door