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Iced Cucumber Soup with Walnuts
    Serves 4 - 6
    This cooling summer soup, pungent with garlic, is popular in one form or another throughout the Balkans and in Turkey. Walnuts give this version a wonderful texture.
2 - 4 garlic cloves (to taste), peeled, green shoots removed
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2/3 cup shelled walnuts
3 slices French or Italian bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and the water squeezed out
2 tablespoons walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil, or 1 tablespoon each
2 cups thick whole milk or low-fat yogurt
1 European cucumber, about 10 inches long, or 3 Persian cucumbers, cut in tiny dice
1/2 cup ice-cold water
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1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
Ice cubes
For garnish:
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
Olive oil (optional)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Lemon wedges

1. Place the garlic in a mortar with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil and mash to a past. Using a mortar and pestle: Add the walnuts, a handful at a time, and pound to a paste with the garlic. Add the bread and work into the paste. Work in the oil, a little at a time. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the yogurt. Using a food processor: Make the garlic paste in the mortar and pestle. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse the walnuts until finely ground. Add the bread and pulse until the mixture has been reduced to a paste. Add the garlic and process until blended. Add the oil with the machine running. Add the yogurt and pulse until everything is well blended. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the water and the vinegar or lemon juice. Add salt to taste. Chill for one hour or longer.
2. Season the cucumbers lightly with salt, and add to the yogurt mixture. Stir together.
3. Place an ice cube in each bowl and ladle in the soup. Top with chopped walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil if desired, and a sprinkling of dill. Pass the lemon wedges.
4. Serve, topping each bowl with a spoonful of Parmesan.

Advance preparation: You can make this several hours before serving it. Keep the soup base and the cucumbers refrigerated separately. The longer it sits, the more pungent it will become. Parmesan rind.

Advance preparation: This keeps for a few days in the refrigerator and freezes well. Bring back to a simmer and serve. It will benefit from being made ahead.

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