Archive for the ‘Recipes – Fruit’ Category

Chilled Summer Fruit Soup

This is one of the most delightful ways to enjoy ripe summer fruits and couldn’t be simpler to make. The base of the soup is simply a puree of melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon or a combination).  Use pieces of whole fruits such as strawberries, slices of kiwi, blueberries, or melon balls as a garnish to give the soup color, flavor, and texture.  This versatile soup that can be made different every time just by using other fruits or juices, such as mango or peaches.  Ever find yourself with an abundance of fruit after a party? Here’s a great way to use it before you lose it.

Fresh pureed cantaloupe with strawberries, melon balls, and kiwi

The variation below adds a refreshing touch of fresh ginger and mint. For an elegant presentation, put a serving of whole and sliced berries in a dish with the puree on the side in a small carafe, so your guests can serve themselves just a little or a lot. Change the entire mood of the soup with a splash of champagne or club soda in the base puree and use a parfait glass for serving.

This light and colorful soup pairs beautifully with tea sandwiches or quiche, perfect for a weekend brunch. If you have the time, make the base puree the day before so flavors will blend. Then add your fresh fruit garnish at serving.

Chilled Summer Fruit Soup

Makes about 4 cups; Equipment: Food processor, cutting board, knife, melon baller or spoon for scooping

Base Puree:

1 whole cantaloupe (or equivalent)

3 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice or chunks of pineapple

¼ cup orange juice

2 T. chopped fresh mint

2 t. lime juice

2 t. grated fresh ginger

Garnish:

1 kiwi, sliced

6 – 8 strawberries, sliced

Reserved melon balls

Spring of mint

Dash cinnamon

Optional: pinch of nutmeg

Instructions:  Cut cantaloupe in half and remove seeds. Scoop melon balls from one half (at least 16) and set aside. Remove remaining flesh from both cantaloupe halves.

Combine chopped cantaloupe with pineapple juice, orange juice, mint, lime juice, and ginger in a food processor.  Puree until smooth, about 2 – 3 minutes. For immediate service, pour soup into a quart size bowl and add sliced kiwi, strawberries, and melon balls. Or prepare single servings with about 1/2 cup of fresh fruit garnish in a small bowl and pour puree over. Chill (overnight for best results) and serve with a spring of mint, sprinkled cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg, if desired.  Sit back and wait for applause.

Variations:

  • Use honeydew instead of cantaloupe, or just add honeydew melon balls
  • Swirl in some plain yogurt
  • Serve this as a light dessert
  • Serve the base puree as a beverage and garnish with a strawberry on the glass
  • Add ½ cup of French vanilla bean ice cream to puree and stir to partially melt then add fruit garnish
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Avocados RULE

Welcome to avocado season! Let the celebration begin now that the emerald gems are on sale for as low as a dollar a piece. Not just any avocados mind you, but the HASS avocado. We can also thank Cinco de Mayo for this glorious windfall, which officially launches the spread of guacamole from now through Super Bowl Sunday.   

Sure, we can be frivolous with money in the presence of such abundance, but buyers beware. If you’ve ever spent $2.49 on an off-season avocado – only to find rot and disappointment inside, you’ll want to learn my selection secret: only buy the ones that have a stem attached.  That’s the little stubby knob that most avocados still have when they reach the market.

Why does this matter?  Some noteworthy facts:  The thick avocado skin is almost impervious to damage. It is one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree, making it smart to harvest early and store until needed. Avocados are harvested by hand with special sheers that often leave a stubby nub behind. This is a boon for merchants and consumers because the nub protects the only entry into the fruit from bacterial invaders.

Once the nub is removed, the opening sounds a siren for micro organisms to wreak havoc on the inside of the fruit, virtually undetectable from the outside (you might see some depressions in the skin). Select your avocado with a snugly fitting stub without removing it (bright green around the nub is another indicator of freshness). To tell if the fruit is ripe, squeeze it gently. If it gives under pressure it is ripe and ready to eat (or refrigerate for a day or two). If it doesn’t give under pressure it is not quite ready. Check each day for a change in firmness.

It is just a tremendous bonus that avocados are a healthy food or I’d be hard pressed to drop it from my diet. Of about 500 varieties of avocados on the global market, the Hass is the most highly prized for its rich, nutty flavor and velvety texture, thanks to a healthy dose of healthy fat. 

In closing, the avocado gifts us with a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and vitamin B6. Half of an avocado is 160 calories with about 15 grams of unsaturated fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and no cholesterol.  To learn more about avocados visit the California Avocado Commission website, (image from their website) or just ask me. I have a PowerPoint. 🙂