Ah summer, everyone’s least favorite season. Everything is hot. Everyone is sweating. You look and feel disgusting because you are because it’s boiling outside and you hate everything and everything is bad and summer is the worst and you miss college and you aren’t ready to be an adult and what you need is a nice bowl of cold soup.
“Cold soup?” You’re probably asking “like gazpacho?”
No. This summer, we shall not resort to this admittedly refreshing but hopelessly overused elixir. What will we be making to beat this absurd weather? How about…
Most people think Russia is a frozen wasteland, because it is. However, Moscow in the summer can be just as warm as some parts of the continental United States. How do the they cool off in Russia? With a bowl of delicious, refreshing okroshka.
The soup is usually made with kvas as a base. What’s that? You don’t know what kvas is? It’s a fermented, non-alcoholic beverage made from rye bread. It can also be made from fermented tea (this is also known as kombucha, and is considered a type of kvas).
So this is kind of like gazpacho, but you can feel better than other people while eating it because it sounds fancy and is from Spain, which everyone knows is a fancy country. Actually, I’m a big fan of soups that use bread as a thickener. If you use really good bread and toast the bread beforehand, you can add a lot of flavor to a soup.
This soup is basically just tomatoes, soaked bread, garlic, vinegar and oil. Blend it all together with a stick blender (or in a regular blender, then transfer to a bowl). There you have it: fancy cold tomato soup. I garnished mine with sardines and basil.
3. Summer borscht
Borscht is probably the most versatile soup there is. Anything can go into borscht. If you can make any kind of soup, you can probably make borscht. Now, even though you probably imagine borscht to be warm, cold borscht is quite popular as well. It’s slightly different from its wintery cousins.
Put simply, this soup consists of some kind of broth (vegetable or chicken are good choices), some veggies (cooked beets and cucumbers are a must) and something acidic (lemon juice or vinegar). You’ll also want some dairy in there, either in the form of some yogurt mixed in, or as a scoop of sour cream. I suggest garnishing with dill, because dill makes everything better. As a rule of thumb, if you can taste anything other than dill in your soup, add a bit more dill.
4. Mango Soup
This soup is made with water, sugar, pieces of mango and a splash of lemon. It’s thickened with potato starch. You may have a few questions about it.
“Is this really worthy of being called a soup? It’s a bit plain.”
Yes, you’re right, it’s not much of a soup. It’s really something between a beverage and a soup that’s popular among children in Russia: kissel. However, I felt Russian cuisine was over-represented here, so I just gave it a generic name based on my fruit of choice – the mango. Truthfully, it can be made with anything.
Okay, so it’s sort of a soup and sort of a drink. But you know what else? You’re sort of a sack of meat stuck to an enormous rock orbiting a ball of nuclear energy that simultaneously brings life and death to each of us ultimately insignificant, exceedingly temporary creatures. So yeah, mango soup. Garnished with a bit of whipped cream. Enjoy.
Imagine potato leek soup but cold.This dish is usually made with potatoes, chicken stock, leeks and herbs. It’s garnished with cream and chives, but I added some salted egg yolk (yes, that’s a thing). This one is a bit more indulgent than the other soups, which feature mostly veggies, fruit and yogurt. But sometimes you just need a bowl of starch and fat.