Elegant Edibles Catering
Well, friends, can you believe we are into the month of August already? I don’t know about you, but I don’t know where July went! After struggling to cope with the year of shutdowns and actually having to search for things to do, I am seeing the world not only open, but playing catch-up. So many of the people I have spoken to recently have said they are not only doing the typical summer things you might expect, but they are also trying to make up for events they missed last summer. It’s a boom for caterers and event planners, but somedays there just aren’t enough hours in a single day (or even season) to squeeze it all in!
So far this year, in addition to just filling our calendars, we have been having to deal with some exceptionally odd summer weather…I don’t ever remember a July that has given us both record heat and record rain. Planning events has been a different challenge! There has been some amazing weather for outdoor activities, although a little too wet for some activities and way too warm to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven some days! This is a perfect time of year to enjoy cold foods, and one of my favorites is cold soup! At first thought, many may say a quick and resounding “YUCK”, but with an open mind and adventurous taste buds, I think I can make you change your mind!
Cold soups are just what their name implies…cold (or sometimes room temperature). Now I’m not talking cold chicken noodle or cream of mushroom, here. No leftovers invited to this party! Cold soups are prepared specifically to be served cold. One of the more commonly known is the Spanish treat Gazpacho (a wonderfully refreshing tomato based creation). I think this is a perfect start to a summer luncheon. I also enjoy serving cold melon soups. These can be either sweet or savory, and can be served as a starter course, or as a dessert course. As with most food, presentation is an important part of the enjoyment. Serving cold soups from a crystal punch bowl, into fancy bowls or even wine goblets will add to the novelty!
Cold soups are usually very easy to make; the most handy tool to use in making them is a blender or food processor, as usually at least part of the ingredients are pureed, (thus making the soup, soupy!). I always like to make my soups (whether cold or hot) the day before I plan to serve them so that the flavors have time to “mingle.” As with many other foods, flavors in soup will change (either intensify or mellow) a bit as they rest. By allowing this resting time, you also are able to readjust the seasonings if you need to before serving. Remember…you can always add a little more, but you can’t take it out once it is in, so start with a light hand!
Finally, as I always do, I encourage you to be adventurous! You truly may like something new, even if it sounds a little scary or even gross! Like I always told my kids, you never knew you liked your favorite food until you put it in your mouth the very first time! So if you are on the edge, go ahead and take the plunge! You may discover your new favorite food…or at least be able to honestly say you don’t like it, because you did try it!
Cold Melon Soup
- 1 ripe cantaloupe*
- 1 ripe honeydew*
- 4 ripe peaches*
- 2-3 cups orange juice (fresh squeezed is always best!)
- Dash of nutmeg
Peel and remove seeds from melons, peel and remove pits from peaches. Cut fruits into cubes and puree in food processor. Add orange juice to thin the soup to desired consistancy and mix well. Chill for at least 4 hours. Serve cold, garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt (I like vanilla) and a sprig of fresh mint!
*The more ripe your fruit is, the better it will puree, so this is an excellent way to use up “past their prime” fruit!
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.