One of The Original Golden Door’s most popular and versatile recipes!

A gold standard of destination spas since its inception in 1958, the aptly named Golden Door, a Japanese-inspired enclave just north of San Diego, attracts weeklong guests seeking life transformation along with relaxation and beauty. Charming huts, koi ponds, poolside gyms, treatment cabanas and 20 miles of hiking trails through avocado groves encourage inner peace and outer fitness.

When executive spa chef Curtis Cooke first arrived on the scene last April, the native Texan reacted much like a kid in a candy shop. “I’ve always tried to source my own produce when creating healthy food,” he says. “My own garden is the best starting point; I don’t have to do much to make the food taste good!” Curtis strolled through the property’s endless avocado groves and stumbled upon tubs and tubs of freshly harvested beans and vegetables. “I was incredulous; ‘Did they all grow here?!’“

Indeed they did, so Curtis gathered his locavorean bounty and hit the kitchen, where he used vegetable stock and buttermilk to whip up one of Golden Door’s most popular and versatile recipes: chilled, savory soup, sprinkled with cilantro, lime, red onion and peppers. Subsequent incarnations of the creamy soup have featured crab, chipolini onions, pink peppercorns and pickled red onions. “I give healthy cooking demonstrations, and guests can’t believe how easy this is,” Curtis says. “And I’m like, ‘That was your first course last night.’”

Chilled Avocado Soup with Sweet Corn Salad from The Original Golden Door in Escondido, California

Serves 4

3 avocados, peeled and chopped
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce
sea salt to taste
In a blender, puree all ingredients, adjusting the consistency with vegetable stock, as needed.

Top with:
1 cup sweet corn, grilled and cut from cob
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
Grill the corn to blister the kernels, shuck and cool. Combine with remaining ingredients and mix
thoroughly. Spoon over soup.

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