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posted: 5/28/2014 5:30 AM

Soupalooza: Don't give fruit soup the cold shoulder

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  • Chilled Watermelon Soup is a refreshing starter for summer meals.

       Chilled Watermelon Soup is a refreshing starter for summer meals.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Photographers -- especially those who shoot food assignments -- generally are eager to sample your culinary creation. In other words, they like to eat. So what usually happens is this: I make the soup. They shoot the soup. And what remains after the shoot generally winds up as their lunch.

Not this time.

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"So, you want to try this," I ask the photographer, as I usually do.

"Watermelon soup? Ah, no thanks," was the very polite response. "But I'll have a piece of watermelon, if you don't mind."

Hmmm. He obviously likes watermelon, but he doesn't want the watermelon soup. That was my first signal that cold fruit soup might not be everyone's cup of broth.

OK, I get it, but, honestly, cold soups offer a very nice change of pace at a summer barbecue. They are refreshing, healthy and so easy to make. All you need is a blender and a refrigerator.

This particular watermelon soup includes watermelon and buttermilk, although you could substitute plain yogurt if you like. I added a touch of gin, a sprinkle of salt and a teaspoon of rose water and that's it. Cold soups are festive and the flavors can be a little more complex than you might imagine. This version was not nearly as sweet as you would think, especially considering the main ingredient is watermelon.

Of course, when you start dealing with watermelon, you have to mention the seed issue. If you have a super powerful blender, you can toss the pieces in, seeds and all.

Otherwise, I would suggest buying a seedless watermelon. The recipe calls for six cups of watermelon juice. I bought a basketball-sized watermelon and got about seven cups of juice. (I turned the leftover juice into a watermelon mojito, I must confess.)

As to the rose water, I was worried that might not be easy to find, but Whole Foods Market had it so I'm assuming other grocery stores carry it as well. (It is heavily used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines so you might want to look in the ethnic section of your local food store.)

So give cold fruit soup a try this summer, but don't be surprised if someone turns up their nose at it. That just means more for you!

M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's director of strategic marketing and innovation, and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com.

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