July 17, 2009

Stone Cold Soup - Yummm

My enfant terrible is out of town for a few days at his grandmother's (actually he's a great kid and I miss him very much) and while he's away I'm getting extra time with my husband.

On Wednesday night G-Pup and I met for a beer at The Rex after his workday. Despite living in Toronto since 1983, it was the first time I had set foot inside the old Jazz bar. I've yet to see any performances there.

After one there, we ambled far west along Toronto's bustling Queen Street. After deciding on something casual to eat but before we actually walked all the way home, we stopped at an old diner called The Swan. The Swan is really sparsely decorated - if you could even call it decorated - but what they do have are the original diner fittings that look like they date back to the '30s.

Most of the restaurant was reserved for a private party complete with oyster shucking on ice, so G and I sat at the bar.

I wanted to tell you about the soup I had there. I've been on an avocado kick since I first went to Julie's Cuban restaurant last winter. The Swan's soup of the day was Avocado Vichyssoise. It was absolutely delicious.

It was thicky, creamy, ice cold. Besides the avocado there was a hint of cumin and a hint of coriander. I loved it.

I've been searching for a recipe and I found this one in an old New York Times article, which is in turn from the book ''Paris in a Basket: Markets -- The Food and the People'' by Nicolle Aimee Meyer and Amanda Pilar Smith (Konemann, $19.95). I haven't tried it yet, but this recipe seems like it might be closest to the one I enjoyed at The Swan.


Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling

1 1/4 pounds medium boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
4 cups chilled, defatted chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cilantro leaves for garnish.

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan of salted water, and cook until tender. Drain.
2. Place half the potatoes and half the avocados in a blender with 1 cup chicken stock, cumin and lemon juice. Process to smooth puree, gradually adding another cup of stock, and transfer to a bowl. Puree the remaining potatoes and avocados with the remaining stock, and combine with the first batch. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
3. Serve garnished with a few cilantro leaves or chives.
Yield: 6 servings

recipe found athttp://www.nytimes.com/2000/05/31/dining/by-the-book-outdoor-markets-inside-the-kitchen.html
soup image www. marthastewart.com
top image: www.blogto.com

2nd image: dineto/swan


Alette Siri Ane said...

I have never tasted cold soup,Tomorrow I will!

Brian Miller said...

love those nice casual evenings witht he spouse. the diner sounds fun. local is always better for me.

Sandra Leigh said...

Love cold soups.Love avocado. Together? Oh, yummmmmm.

Where on Queen Street is the diner? I'm trying to get a mental picture, having spent a lot of time in that area, long ago.

Baino said...

I'm definitely stealing that one! Gorgeous summer soup and avocados are plentiful here all year round. Actually we're having the rather celtic and hot versio of Vichy tonight - Cream of Leak and Potato! Around a fire because it's c-o-l-d! (That's a massive steak meal there!)

The Clever Pup said...

Sandra Leigh, The Swan is at 892 Queen West - past Trinity Bellwoods Park but not as far west as the Mental Hospital.

Candie Bracci said...

Hum..I love avocados,that must be really good!Thanks.Have a nice weekend Hazel!

Mary-Laure said...

MUST try this soup when I'm back in CA!

lettuce said...

it sounds delicious, I will try this - we all love gazpacho, in my house
And this looks so beautiful!

I sometimes put avocado in fruit smoothies, which is good too

nonizamboni said...

I think I'll give this a try--it has all my favorite things.
p.s. enjoyed your Van Gogh post. . .I posted one of Rembrandt's drawings this week to honor his birthday on Wednesday.
Enjoy your weekend!

svs said...


I would love to have an evening like this one again. My favorite thing. Absolutely.

On other note, now I just need to pick up a few avocados & I can make this which looks just up my alley. This is to say...that my life is changing radically in the last two weeks & as a for instance, I took delivery the other day of a new blender (my first in 10 years without) & a few other very useful kitchen items. I can make pesto again in large batches to freeze.

You said once that I'd get back to being able to entertaining...doing what I used to. Yes. I've given myself until holidays to do anything major.

Oh, & I bought that Marseilles dress. It's beautiful.



Poetikat said...

I adore avocado, cilantro, potatoes and cumin too. This will coming up on the menu as soon as I'm back on my feet.


Ima Wizer said...

OMG! This is beautiful....I'll post it on my Examiner site. YUMMMMMM!
Thank you!!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

After reading this post, I'm off to raid my fridge.

gretchen said...

sounds delicious. thanks for searching out that recipe and posting. will try it out, seems a simply marvelous combination of flavors.

Margaret Gosden said...

Thank you for the recipe - the result looks really yummy!

Anonymous said...

It's just Swan not The Swan.