Yesterday it was over 90 degrees in Iowa, so it was the perfect day to try a cold soup. In general, I’m not a huge fan of cold soups. I keep trying them, but I am generally underwhelmed. After yesterday’s meal, though, I think it’s something that I just need to keep trying to appreciate. We didn’t eat cold soups at my house growing up, so it’s not a familiar texture experience for me. Each time I try one, though, I’m impressed by the complexity of flavor that can come from just a few fresh ingredients.
Making this avocado, radish and basil soup was kind of a comedy of errors. We don’t have a functioning blender, so I tried to make it in the food processor. Of course, there was more water in the soup than the food processor could hold, so it started leaking all over the counter. I quickly transitioned it to a bowl and tried to finish using my immersion blender. The immersion blender immediately began smoking and smelling like burnt plastic (I did buy it for $3 at a thrift store 5 years ago, so I wasn’t too disappointed). We made it through, though, and this is a really nice blend of flavors. The avocado’s creamy sweetness balanced the spicy radishes perfectly. I didn’t use the full amount of basil simply because I didn’t have it, and it turned out fine. I made the soup according to the linked recipe, though mine may have had slightly less water content due to the disasters.
To go with the soup, I decided to make radish and butter sandwiches and kale chips. If you’re unfamiliar with radish butter sandwiches, I’ll just tell you that that are surprisingly delicious. The creaminess of the butter just brings out the crisp texture of the radishes while making them a bit milder somehow. We used a good whole grain bread. Spread a slice of bread with butter (we used spreadable butter with canola oil). Thinly slice radishes (I used about 1 medium radish for each slice of bread). Place radish slices in a single or double layer on one side of the bread. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Fold the sandwich over (This makes it easier to eat since the radishes get trapped in the fold).
Finally, kale chips! John and I commented that these chips are all about the texture–they don’t have much flavor on their own, so they would be a great vehicle for a variety of dips. I basically used this recipe for a shorter baking time. The basic procedure is to heat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash one bunch of kale well. Tear the leaves from the stems in bite-sized pieces. Dry the pieces well (I used a salad spinner). In a bowl, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the kale. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt, paprika, and Romano cheese (or your choice of spices). Use your hands to cover the kale in oil and spices. Spread the kale in a single layer onto a cookie sheet (you may want to cover in parchment if it’s a good one–I have 2 old cookie sheets that I use for roasting, etc). Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until the leaves are crispy. Serve with dipping sauces of choice. We used ketchup, sriracha and yogurt, and a roasted red pepper tapenade that was in the fridge. Actually, the ketcup was really good.
John and I joked that this was the fanciest soup, sandwich, and chips combination we have probably ever made at home. Then we proceeded to talk in moneyed accents for about five minutes. In all seriousness, though, I’m happy that this challenge is forcing me to try radishes in new ways. I might even like them. For the four weeks a year they are fresh and local, anyway.