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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Cucumber Gazpacho #FoodieReads

This post was inspired by the second installment of the Sugar Creek Mystery Series. The first, Death and Wedding Cake by Nova Walsh, inspired my Brownies of Pure Enjoyment. After reading Death and Peaches by Nova Walsh, I whipped up a cold cucumber soup.

On the Page

This second installment of the Sugar Creek mystery series has Chef Abby moving back to Sugar Creek to start her own catering business and explore a more permanent relationship with the sheriff. At the first event where she brings samples of her goodies, one of the contest judges is poisoned and dies not too far from her display.

Again, Abby can't help herself and dives into trying to solve the murder. And, again, like the first book, there is a lot of food mentioned on the pages.

Abby tells Cassie, "'I was thinking about testing a couple of things out on you and we can decide together which one wins. The first is a goat cheese and peach tart with prosciutto and thyme, the second is grilled chicken and peach skewers, and the third is a peach crumble cheesecake'" (pg. 35).

"To make the bruschetta, I would need to slice a whole lot of baguette into thin slices, mix the topping, and then right before the event tomorrow, top all the little toasts with either a mix of tomato, mozzarella, and basil, or peaches and mint on top of a thin spread of ricotta, and drizzle them all with a balsamic glaze" (pg. 106).

"Our food arrived just then, and I took a moment to appreciate the beauty of the plate. Perfectly seared scallops sat on a bed of satiny risotto dotted heavily with porcini mushrooms and artichoke. I took a bite and closed my eyes. The scallop was perfectly cooked and covered in a lemony sauce that was to die for. It was so good I almost wanted to go in back and talk to the chef, try to pry away his or her secrets" (pg. 114).

I certainly share Abby's sentiment...

When in doubt, feed someone. It always worked for me.

But the passage that sent to into the kitchen was this...when Abby is planning a dinner party. "I want to do a cold cucumber or carrot soup to start. For the second course, I was thinking of grilled shrimp with a green goddess salad. For the main course, I’d like to do a choice of steak or fish with a summer panzanella salad and grilled vegetables. And of course, we’ll have Ellie’s tarts" (pg. 105).

In the Bowl

'Cold Cucumber Soup' got me thinking about a riff on gazpacho, a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables. Gazpacho originated in the southern regions of the Iberian peninsula and spread into other areas. It is ubiquitous in Spain and Portugal during hot summers, since it is refreshing and cool.


  • 3 organic cucumbers, peeled and cubed

  • 1/3 cup whole almonds (I used Marcona almonds)

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves + more for garnish

  • 1 cup water

  • freshly ground salt

  • freshly ground pepper


Process all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into individual serving bowls and garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately.

I am adding this to the May #FoodieReads link-up. Though, when I linked it up, I realized that I had already made a recipe from this book. Too funny. But I am letting this stand because this soup was delicious and perfect for the upcoming season.

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Margaret Wuestenenk
Margaret Wuestenenk
6 days ago

One day I will try gazpacho, but I do struggle with the cold soup thing. We are in hot food soup weather for sure now!

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