Chilled Curried Yellow Squash Soup With Cilantro-Lime Puree

Serves 6 to 8 as a first course

"This subtle soup is delicious hot, but I prefer to serve it well chilled. The intense puree makes a visual and gustatory contrast to the mild soup. You can use zucchini instead of yellow squash (the flavor is much the same), but you'll lose the visual contrast between the yellow soup and the green puree."

-- Excerpted from

the Summer chapter

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

11/2 pounds yellow summer squash, chopped (about 5 small squash)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons curry powder

6 cups vegetable broth

1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and diced

Salt

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the squash and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic and curry powder and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth, potato and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potato is very tender, about 25 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until very smooth. Adjust the seasonings. Transfer the soup to an airtight container, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least several hours. The soup can be refrigerated for several days.

When you are ready to serve the soup, puree the cilantro, lime juice and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a blender until smooth. Add salt to taste.

Taste the chilled soup and adjust the seasonings, adding salt as needed. Ladle the soup into small bowls. Drizzle some cilantro puree over each bowl and serve.

Per serving: 131 calories, 3 gm protein, 11 gm carbohydrates, 10 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 788 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

Seasoning Cold Soups: Just before serving a cold soup, always taste it to make sure there's enough salt. A soup that seems properly seasoned when it's hot can be bland when tasted cold. That's because much of the soup's flavor comes from its aroma. With cold soup, there is no aroma, and in addition the cold deadens our taste buds. Many cold soups also benefit from a last-minute addition of some vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice. Corn Pudding With Poblano Chili Peppers and Monterey Jack Cheese

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

"A southwestern version of the American classic is made richer with cheese and more complex with the flavors of chilies and onion."

-- Excerpted from

the Summer chapter.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, minced

2 medium poblano chili peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced

5 medium ears corn, husks and silk removed

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground white pepper

Move an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onion and chili peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Snap the ears of the corn in half crosswise, stand them on end on a cutting board [or in a roasting pan to catch the kernels] and slice off the kernels with a chef's knife. You should have about 31/2 cups. Combine the corn, sauteed onion and chili peppers with the cheese, eggs, milk, salt and white pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Scrape the corn mixture into the buttered dish.

Bake until the pudding has set in the center and the top has browned lightly, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Per serving: 176 calories, 8 gm protein, 13 gm carbohydrates, 11 gm fat, 82 mg cholesterol, 7 gm saturated fat, 255 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

Grilled Mozzarella Sandwiches With Tomato-Green Olive Salad

Serves 4 as a main course

"This summer supper is both stunning and easy to prepare. Alternating slices of bread and cheese are grilled just until the cheese melts and the bread browns slightly. These sideways sandwiches are slid off the skewers onto plates covered with a salsalike mixture of chopped tomatoes and green olives. A mix of red and yellow tomatoes is especially attractive, but red tomatoes are just fine. I like cracked green olives packed in olive oil and herbs for this recipe."

-- Excerpted from the

Summer chapter

For the Tomato-Green Olive Salad:

11/4 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup green olives, pitted and finely chopped

1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Grilled Mozzarella Sandwiches:

1 narrow loaf French or Italian bread (11/2-inch diameter is ideal), cut into 24 1/2-inch-thick slices

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 20 1/4-inch-thick slices

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Light the grill.

For the salad: While the grill heats, combine the tomatoes, olives, oregano, oil and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Set aside.

For the sandwiches: Starting and ending with a piece of bread, thread 6 slices of bread and 5 pieces of cheese alternately onto each of 4 metal skewers. (If necessary, cut the cheese so it's roughly the same size as the bread.) Place the skewered sandwiches on a baking sheet or platter. Brush both sides of the sandwiches with the oil and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Place the skewered sandwiches over a medium fire and grill, pressing the ends of the sandwiches together with tongs just until the cheese starts to melt and the sandwiches hold together on their own. Continue to grill until the first side is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn the sandwiches and grill until the second side is lightly browned and the cheese has melted, 2 minutes more. Transfer the sandwiches to the baking sheet or platter and let stand just until the cheese solidifies a bit, about 2 minutes.

To serve: Spoon the tomato salad evenly over 4 large plates. Slide the sandwiches off the skewers and set one over the salad on each plate. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 659 calories, 24 gm protein, 49 gm carbohydrates, 42 gm fat, 66 mg cholesterol, 14 gm saturated fat, 1,206 mg sodium, 4 gm dietary fiber