Tomatoes, cucumbers in a cold summer soup

If you find your vegetable garden brimming with tomatoes and cucumbers, pick a basketful and make them into a refreshing summer soup that can be served as an appetizer, or as a main course for an especially hot evening.

This recipe can be doubled to use up excess produce, and thinly sliced cucumber along with a sprinkling of fresh herbs, perhaps tarragon or basil, will brighten up the creamy concoction. Tomato and Cucumber Soup 1 pound tomatoes 2 cucumbers 1 bunch scallions 2 tablespoons butter 3 3/4 cups hot chicken stock 4 tablespoons sour cream

Juice of 1/2 lemon Salt and pepper

Peel and cut up cucumbers, discarding seeds. Slice scallions in thin slices. Melt butter in heavy pan and saute both gently for 5 minutes. Add hot stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Pour into a blender and blend briefly.

Return to clean pan and add sour cream, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Peel tomatoes, discarding seeds, and chop them finely; stir into the soup.

Add sour cream and serve either hot or cold. If cold: Chill well before serving. If hot: Heat only once gently after adding the sour cream, just before serving.

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