“Summertime And The Livin Is Easy”

Lately I keep thinking about those famous lyrics “summertime and the livin is easy.”

There are just so many things that seem to be easier in the summer. It’s easier to get the ponytails out the door in the morning without boots, mitts and heavy coats. It’s easier to drag my butt to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday mornings because it’s not pitch dark out in the mornings—a bit of daylight just makes everything better, even going to the gym. And it’s so much easier to walk out my back door to the garden and pick some fresh herbs whenever I’m cooking, rather than make a last minute dash to the store because I forgot to buy herbs. (Which always seems to happen.) Best of all, you just pick what you need.

It made me very happy this weekend to be able to walk into my backyard and pick the herbs that I needed for this Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese Balls. The fresh herbs, along with the goat cheese really make this soup. As the goat cheese melts into the velvety soup, you get a hit of the tang from the cheese and some zip from the herbs. It really is very tasty.

I have to credit my friend Carolyn for introducing me to this soup. She recently hosted a large group of us for an amazing dinner and she made it seem effortless—really! She served the Asparagus Soup With Goat Cheese Balls in small glasses as a starter and the crowd went wild for this soup. I thought it was one of the best soups I’d ever had—so I knew I had to make it. The main change that I made to Giada De Laurentii’s version of this soup was to use a mix of summer herbs (basil, parsley and chives) rather than just basil in both the soup and the goat cheese balls. I also swapped in an onion for the leeks and rolled the goat cheese balls in the herbs rather than mixed them in. This soup is relatively easy to make, and can be made ahead and reheated if you’re having company, which is a little trick I learned from Carolyn. (Thanks Carolyn!)

I hope you are finding the livin a little easier this summer too!

Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese Balls

Adapted from Giada De Laurentii, Giada at Home

Goat cheese:

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, parsley and chives combined

Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 pounds medium asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 bunches)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, parsley and chives combined
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Goat cheese balls: Roll a spoonful of goat cheese into a ball (approximately 3/4″ to 1 inch diameter) then roll into the herb mixture until coated. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Soup: Heat the butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring constantly until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth, asparagus, mixed herbs and pinch of crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Blend the soup until smooth using an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with goat cheese balls.

NOTE: I propped up the goat cheese balls in my picture with an inverted ramekin just so you could see them. They quite naturally sink into the soup once you add them.

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44 Comments on ““Summertime And The Livin Is Easy””

  1. Kristy says:

    Fabulous! I love Giada! I’m definitely making this one this summer given my new found love of asparagus. 🙂 And I couldn’t agree with you more on so many things being easier in the summer. I do find it harder to keep up with cleaning the house though. 😉 LOL.

  2. Ohhhh. I love Giada, but haven’t seen this recipe. It look so wonderful and I love your mixture of herbs and the way you roll them onto the cheese and let them melt in is not only brilliant, but so fun! I can’t wait to try this.

    • I have just recently discovered Giada’s recipes and can see why you love her! It is fun to roll the goat cheese around in the herbs and to wait for it to melt into the soup so that you can get that hit of tang from the cheese. Carolyn sold me on this and I do recommend it!

  3. A_Boleyn says:

    It’s a little too warm for soup right now but when the weather gets cooler and, hopefully, I have some herbs in my garden, this looks like a winner.

  4. Mmm the essence of summer in soup farm – digging it big time my friend 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Sissi says:

    Barb, your photo is breathtaking! It looks so professional and elegant! The soup sounds delicious and now I’m thinking that strangely, even though I eat lots of goat cheese and asparagus, I have never combined them in any dish… Weird. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • You are so kind with your comments Sissi! As I mentioned, I needed to cheat a little to make this shot work….but at least you can see how the goat cheese balls looked. Yes, goat cheese and asaragus is a great combination that you will have to try! I’ve seen this combo used on a puff pastry tart quite a bit as well.

      • Sissi says:

        Barb, we all cheat on our photos and the better they are the more “cheating” is included I suppose. I was exactly thinking of a tart because as you say I have seen asparagus and goat cheese tarts so many times. Your soup is however very original!

  6. Eva Taylor says:

    The livin’ sure is easy particularly when the weather is just so darned amazing. What a perfect soup, and I just love Carolyn’s presentation (yours is lovely too, of course). Thank you for the disclosure about the cheese balls; I would have spent hours trying to figure out why mine sink like a brick! 😉
    I have a huge bag of asparagus discards in my freezer (I always save the woody ends for soup, and when I gather enough, I cook them off, purée them and strain. It takes a lot of bits because a lot of the pulp is too woody, but I figure it’s free because I was going to toss them anyway!) I will have to try this for our next dinner party. Thanks Barb.

  7. Beth says:

    Your soup looks wonderful, and I love the ramekin trick! I love the easy living of summertime, too.

  8. glamorous glutton says:

    I love asparagus and with the addition of the goats cheese I bet it’s really tasty. GG

  9. Norma Chang says:

    Isn’t it great to have a garden? I do so miss the garden in the winter. What a great asparagus soup and so easy. Love that plate under the soup bowl.

  10. The soup sound delicious! love asparagus, love goat cheese ( doesn’t it just make everything better!?) Good to know you could make it ahead/ save some! and I hear you on the summer easy living… getting work-outs in and kids out the door, and the the herbs make everything instantly better!

  11. machisan says:

    Fabulous! i would love to try it.

  12. We are at a typhoon level 3 here in Hong Kong today, getting stocked on groceries and items to make this delicious soup when I am stuck indoors during the storm

    • Typhoon level 3? Oh my, that doesn’t sound good Bam. I hope that it passes very quickly with minimal damage. I’ll have to check the news as I haven’t heard about it. Let me know how you like the soup, if you do make it.

      • All is good today the warnings have been lifted in Hong Kong, but Japan is getting pelted by the storm now. I hope the weather changes soon it always happens this time of the year when the cool meets the warm over the sea.

  13. This looks like a delicious soup and perfect for summer!

  14. Karen says:

    What a terrific idea to use the goat cheese in the soup. It really must add so much flavor. I agree with you about going out the door for fresh herbs…its so nice not the have to drive somewhere and you only have to take what you need.

  15. Charles says:

    That soup looks lovely and thick Barb – I love soups in summer, even hot ones! People say it’s winter food but that’s rubbish I think. I love the look of the herbed goat cheese balls. Looks like a fantastically simple little topping and packed with flavour too!

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head Charles — the goat cheese balls rolled in herbs are really simple but packed with flavour. I really felt that it tasted like summer. You know, given that we have air conditioning, I never think about the heat when I make soup. However, I would like to try my hand at a few cold soups this summer. Got any good recipes I should try?

      • Charles says:

        Oh, oh, my favourite of all time – gazpacho! I must get the recipe from my Spanish colleague at work. She makes the BEST gazpacho EVER, seriously!

  16. Hey, I love your blog! So I’ve nominated you for the versatile bloggers award. Check out the post to find out more =] http://food-fork-and-good.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/herb-crusted-chicken-with-veggie-fries.html

  17. Karista says:

    I don’t know what it is about this summer but I’m so into soup! This looks delish and I think I’ll add it to my weekend menu. Yum!

  18. You are totally right about summer being easy to live in…it’s full on winter where I am now and I’m feeling it! None of the herbs are growing and produce just isn’t as good. 😦 Love the soup though, can still enjoy a good soup when it’s cold. 🙂

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  22. Caddie says:

    Awesome pic! This is def the first soup I’m making when winter hits South Africa in May!


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