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From the Culinary SOS archive: Chilled soups for warm weather

April 6, 2011 |  6:00 am

Michele sent me an email requesting the recipe for Velvet Turtle's cold cucumber soup:

"I sure hope you can help me find this recipe as I've been searching for it for years with no success!

"Back in the mid-late '70s, I used to work at the Bullock's Wilshire store in Newport Beach and directly across the employee's entrance was a Velvet Turtle.... Among their many wonderful dishes, I would almost always order their cold cucumber soup which was served on a bed of crushed ice and garnished with a sprinkling of fresh dill and a dollop of fresh sour cream.

"I've tried most every recipe I've found while searching for their version, but none of them have come close to the creaminess and totally unique flavor of that recipe. I would be forever indebted if you could somehow find this recipe as all of my attempts over these years have failed."

It was a bit of a challenge, but I was able to track down the original recipe. We ran it as a Culinary SOS request we answered back in the 1970s. The recipe follows the jump.

With the weather finally showing signs of spring, I thought I'd include a couple more favorite Culinary SOS's for cold soups. The first is a cold melon gazpacho (pictured) From Tierra Sur; we ran the SOS last summer, and you can find the recipe here. The next is for a tomato soup from Chef Jean Metegnier which can be served hot or cold; the recipe also follows the jump.

Click here for more Culinary SOS recipes. If you have a favorite restaurant recipe request, feel free to email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com. I'll do my best to track it down.

-- Noelle Carter

Photo: Tierra Sur's heirloom melon gazpacho. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times


1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 onion, chopped coarsely

1 cup chopped leek (white part only)

Butter or margarine

Salt, pepper

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons chicken seasoned stock

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

5 drops hot pepper sauce

Dash chopped fresh or dried dill

1/2 cup half and half, optional

Sour cream, optional

Set aside 1/2 cup diced cucumber. Saute onion, leek and remaining cucumber in 2 tablespoons butter until onion is transparent. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add wine, water and chicken base and bring to boil. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small pan and blend in flour. Stir into onion mixture until blended. Simmer 1 hour.

Puree mixture in blender about 15 seconds, then strain through fine sieve. Add whipping cream, lemon juice, pepper sauce, dill and reserved diced cucumber. Cool soup completely, correct seasoning and add half and half if soup is too thick. Serve in chilled soup cups. If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon sour cream to each serving and garnish with lemon wedge and parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

176 calories; 366 mg sodium; 48 mg cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.7 gram fiber.


5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1 onion, diced

1 leek, white part only, diced, optional

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

1 cup water

1/2 cup tomato puree

1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

Cook tomato with onion, leek and garlic in large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes. Add salt, rosemary, water and tomato puree. Cook 15 minutes longer. Add basil and cook 2 minutes only.

Pour 2 cups of mixture at a time into blender container and puree until smooth. (Remember to vent blender when blending hot liquid to allow steam to escape and prevent lid from popping off.) Serve hot or cold.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

70 calories; 439 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.73 grams fiber.