Sunday, July 6, 2008

Soup is a refreshing addition to a summer picnic

I used to think soup was something you served hot on a cold winter night. That is, until I wrote Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket and asked my daughter to help me find some suitable picnic recipes to go with my day trips. Surprise, surprise, she concocted Melon Strawberry Soup and I quickly expanded my narrow concept about soup. Try it and let me know what you think.

Melon Strawberry Soup
(Courtesy of Holly McCarthy)

Soup course ~ side with salad or sandwich ~ dessert. Take your pick. This soup will remain chilled for hours so it is a practical yet delicious addition to a summer picnic menu.

1 package (12-ounce) frozen whole strawberries (will only use half)
1 large cantaloupe
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 bottle (16-ounce) lemon-lime carbonated beverage

* If strawberries are a frozen block, partially thaw, break apart and refreeze.
* Remove rinds and seeds from cantaloupe and cut into chunks. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add orange juice, lime juice, and honey. Whirl until well blended.
* Pour into a pitcher and chill for 2 or more hours. Before leaving for your picnic, cut one-half of the frozen strawberries in half and add to soup mixture. Pour into a 2-quart wide mouth thermos to transport to picnic.
* To serve, measure 3/4 cup soup into bowl and add 1/4 cup of the carbonated beverage.
*Yield: 5-6 one cup servings.

** Fun Alternatives! **
For a festive occasion, replace the carbonated beverage with champagne.
For a little more color during blueberry season, add a few to each bowl.

For those of you who already have Cruising Connecticut, don't forget about the delicious Gazpacho contributed by Chris Prosperi of the Metro Bis Restaurant in Simsbury (Page 24.) You'll love this one.

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