Try a soup on chilly summer days

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The latter part of August this year has been a bit chilly and rainy compared to Augusts of recent memory, and so I’ve turned to some soups to warm things up in our kitchen.
Recently, for example, I roasted some cauliflower and cabbage in the oven, boiled up baby red potatoes and then sautéed celery, onion, sweet pepper and carrot with a little garlic, olive oil and butter.
In a large soup pot I mixed these ingredients together and added about three-quarters chicken stock and one-quarter water to cover. A little thyme, salt and pepper and the soup was ready for the next step.
After the soup had cooled a bit I smoothed it out in our food processor in batches. Once it became more like split pea soup in texture I put it all back in the soup pot, added a cup of half and half and then brought it to simmer again. Voila — cauliflower chowder.
Another option for summer soup is to go cold, with a gazpacho, for example. This type of soup is essentially uncooked, as the raw, cleaned vegetables are blended until smooth. Most commonly these veggies include tomatoes, cucumbers and onion.
The beauty of this soup is you can play with the texture with whatever raw veggies you choose to add. Carrots if added, for example, would make it a little chewier. The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, has a nice and easy gazpacho recipe found online on the Food Network. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/gazpacho-recipe.html
If cold soup in rainy weather is not to your liking, ingredients for a simple summer chili are all over the farmers markets right now.
Here’s the chili I whipped up this week after receiving our box of fresh goodies from Prairie Drifter Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program. Most of the ingredients came from local producers! I find that the fresh food and the cannellini beans in this chili really make this a summer dish, as opposed to darker beans and canned tomatoes.

Claudia Broman lives and writes in Litchfield. Learn more at claudiabroman.com.