I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Vichysquash: Cold Crookneck and Buttermilk Soup

Vichysquash, or Squashyssoise? Yep, this all started because of the name.  I saw a recipe for Vichysquash years ago, and loved the silly name, but it called for canned creamed soup, which has never appealed to me.  The idea stuck though, and when I see the glut of yellow crookneck squash piling up at the farmers market, I always think of this soup. I’ve tinkered around with an old recipe, and finally settled on refreshing dill and a hint of tangy buttermilk, which adds such cool creaminess and a hint of Southern charm.  When I planned to share this recipe, I suddenly had the brain wave of Squashysoisse as a name.  I’ve done and informal poll, but no one can settle on which they like best.  Squashysoisse is just so fun to say.

I love soup of all kinds, but have a real fondness for cold soups.  Maybe it is my hot climate upbringing.  They are so refreshing and satisfying, cool and creamy and smooth.  I am always surprised that in the 100-degree plus summers here, more restaurants and markets don’t offer cold soups. Classic Vichyssoise is one of my very favorites, and I am also a fan of creamy Spanish white gazpacho.   There may be a little standing over a hot stove involved in this recipe (a very little), but once that’s over with, there is a lovely bowl of soup chilling in the fridge.  Serve little cups of this as an elegant starter or luncheon dish, or ladle out big bowls with a nice fresh tomato salad for a garden dinner.

So you tell me- Vichysquash or Squashyssoise?

Vichysquash

Cold Crookneck and Buttermilk Soup

6 yellow crookneck squash (about 2 ½ cups)

3 Tablespoons butter

1 small white onion, diced

1 bunch of dill, to yield 4 Tablespoons chopped

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

salt

Wash the squash and slice into discs about ½ inch thick.

In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Drop in the diced onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Stir in half of the chopped dill (about two Tablespoons) and cook for a further minute. Season with salt. Add the sliced squash to the pot and gently stir to coat with butter, onions and dill.  Cover the pot and leave the squash to stem for a few minutes.  Pour in the broth, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a few times, until the squash is completely soft.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

When the squash is cool, transfer the squash and broth to a blender, in batches, and puree each batch until smooth.  Pour through a strainer into a large bowl  When all the soup is strained, chill in the fridge until nice and cold.  Whisk the buttermilk and the remaining dill into the soup and season with salt to taste, then return to the fridge until thoroughly chilled.  Serve cold.

Serves 6 large bowls, 8 small

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