The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE -

On oc­ca­sion, gram­mar’s not the point. A friend used to say, about a given sum­mer, “It’s a blis­ter.” Here­abouts, this one cer­tainly is that. So, Get Cook­ing has five Wed­nes­days to be with you this Au­gust, and each will be about cool food. Not “with it” food: cold co­mestibles, no-kitchen-heat nosh. Chill.

This recipe is for white gaz­pa­cho, a bleached twist on the usual stan­dard that fea­tures toma­toes and red pep­pers, plus some hints for healthy hacks for all soups cold.

The most im­por­tant cook­ing tip for pre­par­ing un-hot soups is about salt. When any food is cool or cold, the sen­sa­tion of salt is dulled. Many cold soups start out life as hot or even just room tem­per­a­ture food: sautéed veg­eta­bles, say, or in­gre­di­ents as­sem­bled then puréed. Don’t salt these; salt at the end, af­ter the re­frig­er­a­tor or ad­di­tion of ice has chilled the soup.

More heart-healthy hacks:

• Use pro­cessed juices, es­pe­cially tomato juice, spar­ingly if at all; they of­ten con­tain much salt, plus tomato juice sports fla­vors of cooked, not fresh, tomato.

• Bake or dry-roast crou­tons from old bread, herbs and ground pep­per. Fried-in-oil crou­tons are tasty, but also laden with fat.

• Don’t sub­sti­tute veg­etable for olive oil; the lat­ter has fla­vor, more than what’s usu­ally nec­es­sary in a cold soup. Just use less of it if you’re on the look­out for fat.

• Sub out Greek-style yo­gurt (or cashew cream) for sour cream or crème fraiche.

• Av­o­ca­dos will in­tro­duce creami­ness; fruits such as pear, wa­ter­melon and many other mel­ons will bring on the sweet­ness.

• Crum­bled bread of­ten thick­ens cold soups. A health­ier sub may be ground-up nuts (such as al­monds, wal­nuts or cashews). Chopped nuts also can re­place crou­tons.

• Amp up fla­vor by roast­ing veg­eta­bles ahead of time, cool­ing them, then pro­ceed­ing.


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