Summer Soups featured at Party for the Parks

Chef Heather will be giving tips on preparing her gazpacho and other summer soups during an organic cooking class at the Hotel Burnham on Thursday evening. The class is part of "Party for the Parks" sponsored by the Kimpton boutique hotels to benefit the Trust for Public Land. Following the class guests will enjoy a cocktail party with a unique "flower bar" featuring specialty drinks made with real flowers, as well as a silent auction offering getaways at Kimpton properties across the country. Outside of Hotel Burnham, guests and passersby will have the opportunity to purchase tree planting kits with proceeds benefiting TPL.

TPL is a national nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to ensuring that everyone enjoys close-to-home access to a park, playground or natural area. In Chicago, TPL has been instrumental in preserving, expanding and creating parks such as the West Lawn Ball Fields, AAA Boatyard Nature Overlook, Senka Park, River North Park, Ping Tom Memorial Park, Gompers Park Greenway and Campus Park for Betsy Ross Elementary School.

"Party for the Parks" takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 24, at Hotel Burnham, 1 W. Washington, Chicago. Admission to the event is $25, with all proceeds benefiting TPL. RSVPs are required. To register, please call (312) 325-7198 or email

Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup

Serves 4
2 cups buttermilk
2 English cucumbers, seeded, and chopped
3 ripe hass avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup packed cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste0

  • In a blender blend the buttermilk mixture with chopped cucumbers, avocados, water, lime juice, cumin and the cilantro until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Divide the soup between chilled bowls. If desired, garnish with corn tortilla strips, diced red peppers and a dollop of sour cream
  • Chilled Tomato Gazpacho

    Serves 8
    1 cup tomato juice
    1 slice crusty white bread, crust discarded and cut into 1-inch cubes
    15 very ripe medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    1 medium English cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped, reserve ½ cup for garnish
    3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
    1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon aged sherry vinegar
    1 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    ½ cup diced red bell pepper
    ½ cup roasted fresh corn kernels
    ½ small red onion, finely diced
    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • In small bowl, pour tomato juice over bread cubes and let soak until very soft, about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer bread mixture to blender and purée until smooth.
  • Add tomatoes, roughly chopped cucumber, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and paprika and purée until very smooth.
  • Add 1/4 cup vinegar.
  • With motor running, slowly add 1 cup oil in slow steady stream, and then blend until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer gazpacho to airtight container and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • In medium bowl, toss together diced cucumber, bell pepper, corn, onion, ground black pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Ladle gazpacho into bowls. Spoon chopped vegetable mixture into middle of each bowl, dividing evenly among bowls. Serve immediately.
  • Chilled Melon-Mint Soup

    Serves 4
    1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
    2 cups cantaloupe, diced
    8 ounces plain yogurt
    1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    4 fresh mint leaves to garnish

  • In a bowl combine cucumber and cantaloupe, yogurt, mint leaves, and lime juice.
  • In a blender purée mixture in batches 30 seconds, pouring mixture as puréed through a sieve into a bowl, and season soup with salt and pepper.
  • Chill soup, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 6.

  • Serve soup garnished with mint.

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