Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup (and photo struggles)

Tonight I played with a soup that would work on a hot evening, which combined a base inspired by the Food & Wine’s 2007 Annual Cookbook and a relish picked up from an old issue of Gourmet.

Soup base:
1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
2 avocados, pitted and peeled
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all the ingrediants into a blender and blend until smooth. Theoretically one could then strain this, but I found it smooth enough as is. The buttermilk adds a wonderful tang, not unlike a good natural yogurt.

Corn Relish
2 fresh ears of corn
6 cherry tomatoes
handful of cilantro
1 tablespoon of minced shallots
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar

I find that the only useful thing the microwave can do, other than heating up spagetti sauce, is cooking corn.* Leave the corn in the husk, cutting off the excess on either end, and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. Set aside and let cool before removing husk. Chop up the tomatoes and the cilantro, then combine in a bowl with the minced shallots, lime juice, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Husk the corn and with a sharp knife remove the kernals. Mix the kernals in.

When you serve the soup, dollop the relish in the soup and lightly mix in.

* my favorite way to cook corn is to leave in husk, soak in water, and cook on the grill for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on grill heat

The combination came out pretty well. What did not was the photo. Right now I’m trying to use a digital camera, and *thought* that I had enough light for the pictures, but as you can see below they came out in an orange-tinted shadow (the image on the right is a separate mushroom dish I tried that also suffered from the orange plague). Clearly I have some work to do understanding my camera’s settings, since I primarily cook in the evenings when natural light is an impossibility. [UPDATE: I just use a small digital camera (Canon SD1100) and first tried playing with the ISO speeds, but really the easiest solution to get decent shots is the manual white balance feature.]