Prufrock Special*

June 6, 2008

*Or, Do I Dare To Eat a Chilled Peach Soup?


If you’re reading this page, you’ve landed on the old site.  Please visit the new location by clicking here–and don’t forget to update your readers and blogrolls!

As always, thanks for reading.  I look forward to seeing you at the shiny new Diet, Dessert and Dogs!

“Um, Mum, we are coming with you, aren’t we? Because (and sorry to have to tell you this), we actually have more fans than you do on this blog.” 

Well, I’ve just completed my second day on my Total Health cleanse, also known as the Grain Drain.  

(I must interject here just to say thank you to everyone for your great comments, suggestions and encouragement–I am truly blown away by all the positive wishes and love hearing from you all. And it makes a huge difference to know that the support is out there!)

After two days of eating this way, I’m feeling a tad self-reproaching.  You see, so far, I’ve found the diet nowhere near as difficult as I’d anticipated.  In fact, it’s been downright easy–one might go so far as to call it enjoyable, even. (I know–I was shocked, too!)

I mean, what could be wrong with a fresh and juicy Earth Bowl for breakfast?  Or a classic Three-Bean Salad for lunch?  In order to keep my blood sugar levels steady, I’ve been munching on nuts and seeds, baby carrots, prunes (or, as they’re now called, dried plums) and wee bits of Cocoa Nibbles. I feel lighter and my allergies seem to be diminishing.  Whoo hoo!

And then, most unlike Eliot’s eponymous poltroon, I most certainly did dare to eat a peach.  Several, actually, all blended into a smashing soup. That, followed by a serving of Red Pepper stuffed with Raw Asian Pâté, (recipe in a future post), and dinner was rather spectacular.  So, let us go then, you and I, and I’ll fill you in on all the details of Chilled Peach Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream.

Last week, on one of those grey days when the fog rubs its back upon the window-panes, we received a true harbinger of summer: four plump, downy, rosy peaches in our organic produce box. I was so thrilled that I devoured one immediately before I realized there will be time, there will be time to eat more of them throughout the summer. 

As it happened, I’ve been on a bit of a library kick lately.  Maybe it’s the ever-increasing tower of unread magazines that waits patiently in the corner of my office; maybe it’s my newfound frugality; maybe it’s the fact that I had to go get this month’s book (About Alice by Calvin Trillin) for my book club; whatever the reason, I found myself at the local library and decided to drop by the cookbook section.  And there, after reading a variety of recipes (the dishes measured out in coffee spoons), I happened upon The Artful Vegan by Eric Tucker et al.

Tucker is executive chef at the famed Millenium restaurant in San Francisco, one of the very first vegan restaurants to introduce elegant, exciting and innovative cuisine for vegans (and one of the places on my list of “must-visit”s).  I did have the enormous pleasure of sitting in the audience while Tucker demonstrated several recipes a few years ago at the inaugural Vegetarian Awakening conference; it was a revelation to watch him tame a tomatillo, pipe aïoli, or wrangle a fennel bulb. Everything he made was visually stunning and entirely delectable.  (And even after the sampling, the cups, the marmalade, the tea–it would have been worthwhile. Oh. . . perhaps it’s the perfume from his Five Spice Watercress that makes me so digress? ). 

Many of Tucker’s recipes are multi-faceted, multi-tiered, multi-stage affairs that require three days of preparation and innumerable specialty utensils to accomplish; the true appeal of his cookbook is that it allows you to gaze in awe at the culinary gymnastics his creations represent.  And yet, as luck would have it, about midway through the book was a recipe for a chilled peach soup with a rosewater cashew cream.  And best of all–it was perfectly accessible to a home cook! I bit off the matter with a smile, thinking this soup would definitely be worthwhile. 

Preparing the soup couldn’t be easier–if not for the cashew cream accompaniment, I would certainly designate this a Flash in the Pan recipe–and it is entirely transporting when you taste it.  

I made quite a few changes to the original recipe, so I’ll print my own version here.  The soup is intensely fruity, with a slight sour note balanced by the hint of sweetness in the cashew cream topping.  It is entirely refreshing on a smoldering summer day.  This soup fairly hums “summer.”  And even though there’s nothing in it that The Girls must avoid, this soup was too good to share. 

(“Yes, Mum, I did hear the peach soup singing.  But I do not think that it will sing to me. . . it did look good, though.”)

Okay, enough with the Prufrock. . . just don’t get me started on Nabokov’s peach reference!

Since this recipe hails from a truly “gourmet” cookbook and is also extremely low-cal (only 53 calories per serving, according to The Artful Vegan), I thought it would be the perfect submission to the  Fat Chefs or Skinny Gourmets event, hosted by Ben of What’s Cooking and Ivy of Kopiaste’.  They’ll be posting a roundup at the end of the month.

 Chilled Peach Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream


With an irresistible deep coral color and light, refreshing flavor, this soup is the perfect first course to a cool summer meal.  It would also be great as a breakfast soup.



17 Responses to “Prufrock Special*”

  1. Romina Says:

    My goodness, that soup looks like the perfect summer dish!

  2. Celine Says:

    peach soup?? you are a hero.

  3. Hippolyra Says:

    That looks lovely. Beautiful presentation and photography.

    I have not yet made a nut cream but am going to try now.

    Do you think it will work equally well with nectarines? I far prefer them to peaches?


  4. Deb Schiff Says:

    Bravo! It sounds like an amazing soup. Glad the diet is working for you. What could be bad? ;D

    I once had the great pleasure of dining at Millennium with my cousins from Berkeley, CA. It was one of the finest meals I had as a vegetarian. The service was almost like theater, and the atmosphere was serene. I highly recommend it (although it’s a bit on the splurgy side, so save your pennies!).

  5. VeggieGirl Says:

    Chilled peach soup, eh?? Intriguing!! So gorgeous.

    You’ll make it through the cleanse, Ricki!! Hang in there!! You’re doing great so far!!

  6. Courtney Says:

    Hmmm…I have never been a huge fan of chilled soups, but it has been years since I last tried one, and you and your lovely photo and convincing blog post have inspired me to give them another chance! It really does look delicious…


  7. Oh wow, that DOES look irresistible.

  8. Ivy Says:

    Your Chilled Peach Soup with Cashew Coconut Cream looks delicious and is absolutely perfect for the event. I’ve been browsing around your site for some time now and you have a lovely blog with delicious recipes. Your photos are excellent. Thanks for participating.

  9. Amanda Says:

    That soup looks PERFECT. I once had a melon gazpacho and this I imagine will be delightful in the same way–fruity, sweet, and perfectly cooling for a hot summer day!

  10. Johanna Says:

    wow who needs grains! I have never tried cashew cream but would be willing to try for this – it makes me long for peaches and summer! So hard to be putting aside recipes for months ahead but this is one I want to try when peaches are back in season. And your prufrock references gave me a good laugh – a fave poem from my youth!

  11. giz Says:

    Look at the colour on that soup – I want to paint it on my walls – gorgeous. But don’t peaches have a high sugar content and how does that fit with a cleanse.

  12. shellyfish Says:

    That soup just looks so beautiful! I was just talking about fruit soups with some friends- my favourite was melon soup- watermelon, honeydew & maybe cantalope? I’ve never made it, but it was served at a café I used to go to- yum!

  13. Susan Says:

    To me a chilled fruit soup is but a smoothie, and a gorgeous one at that! Look at that color!

    Have you started Trillin’s book yet?

  14. Ricki Says:

    Yes, it does seem to spell “summer” to me, too!

    Blush. (Oh, also the color of the soup!) 😉

    Yes, I’m sure nectarines would work perfectly as well. In fact, I think I read somewhere that they are, technically, peaches–just w/o the fuzz. 🙂

    I am entirely jealous! I had heard that the place was pricey, though, so yes, I’ll save those pennies!

    Thanks so much! I think the color was even prettier in person.

    I haven’t loved chilled soups, either, but this is almost more like a dessert (or, as Susan says below, a smoothie) than a soup. A very refreshing start to a summer meal!

    Go ahead, don’t resist 😉

    Thanks so much for your comment! Looking forward to the rest of the roundup as well.

    Thanks so much for your comment! Melon gazpacho sounds just the thing for a hot day–would love to know how that one was made.

    Sorry for the off-season recipe. . . I feel the same way about some of the Aussie blog recipes, as I’m still sort of in the mood for hot comfort foods. But this will be a nice refreshment when your weather does turn warm again (and the cashew cream is an all-season treat). 😉

    Thanks for asking about the peaches. I’m posting a loooong reply in the next post, but in a nutshell, peaches contain natural fruit sugars (mostly fructose) that are intertwined with all the other substances in a fruit (primarily lots of water and fiber); together, these will slow the body’s processing of it and the time it takes to convert those sugars into glucose (the form the blood can use). “Sugar” (or white sugar) is so refined as to be almost at the stage of glucose already–so it’s converted very quickly and shoots right into the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar levels.

    Fruit in general–and certainly peaches, which are considered a “subacid” and less sweet fruit than tropical fruits–will not cause a spike in blood sugar levels, but rather a slow and steady rise. That’s why fruits in their natural form in most cases are acceptable for diabetics or people with hypoglycemia, whereas white sugar is not. Fruit is also the most easily digestible type of food, leaving very little “residue” in the body from processing (ie, very little waste for the body to dispose of), so it’s considered a very “clean” food and perfect for a cleanse. In fact, many alternative health practitioners recommend cleansing by eating fruit only.

    (Well, that was longer than I expected–even more info in the next post!!) 🙂

    Oh, a melon soup sounds divine to me. I’m not a huge fan of cantaloupe or honeydew on their own, yet pureed like that–and with watermelon!–I think I’d be in heaven.

    Well, I see your point! Now I can have this for breakfast–yay! (Re: Trillin, I’ve emailed you).

  15. Astra Libris Says:

    I just posted this over by your original earth bowl post, but then realized that you might be more likely to find it here, so here are my ramblings once again – because I really wanted make sure you received my huge thank-you for the fabulous earth bowl recipe! Your earth bowl sounds incredible! I adore a bowl of fruits and nuts for breakfast (and often for lunch too! ):-), but I’ve never thought of adding the orange juice – what a wonderful way to increase the variety of textures and create a refreshing raw breakfast cereal! Thank you for the great idea!

  16. This is sortof random…but when my parents took us on a cruise when I was 10? they had strawberry soup on the menu and since my parents knew I loved strawberries they made me order it! I was so freaked out because the only soup I knew was the HOT kind like vegetable! anyway when it came it was of course chilled and pretty much tasted like a somewhat melted milk shake… I was soooooo happy! I think if they had left “soup” off the name I would have gobbled it down without hesitation… anyway I really am hoggin up your comments talking about myself but I thought it could at least be comical…

    as an adult I love cold foods and anything with peaches!

  17. Ricki Says:

    Astra Libris,
    So glad you liked it! It’s become one of my favorite breakfasts, cleanse or no cleanse. 🙂

    happy herbivore,
    I have to agree–it’s called a “soup” pretty arbitrarily, but is still good! I suppose the name depends on when you eat it. But strawberry soup or smoothie–both sound good!

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