Sunday, August 25, 2013

Perfect Soup for a HOT Summer Day: Melon Soup with Crab



I can’t remember where I came across the original recipe many years ago, but I have made it my own over the years.  It is easy and quick to make, it is healthy, and you can make it ahead of time.   Did I mention it is delicious?  

Ingredients
  •        1 medium shallot, minced
  •        2 tablespoons snipped chives
  •       3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •        2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  •        1 tablespoon mayo
  •        1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
  •        Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  •        1 ½ cup Moscato d’ Asti
  •        4 cups cubed cantaloupe or muskmelon
  •        Cayenne Pepper


Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, stir the shallot and chives into 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice.  Whisk in the olive oil and mayo and fold in the crab. Season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne.
  2. Add the melon and the remaining lemon juice, season lightly with salt and puree.
  3. Mound the crab in the center of 4 shallow bowls. Pour the soup around the crab and serve right away.





Can you spot my little helper?


SIDEBAR:  Moscato d'Asti is a semi-sweet, lightly sparkling (frizzante) wine made from Moscato grapes. It comes from vineyards around the town of Asti, in the south-eastern part of Piedmont; North-western Italy. With its crisp freshness, elegant floral aromas and delicate flavors of peaches and apricots, Moscato d'Asti is one of Italy's most popular wines.  The wine is sweet and low in alcohol, and often enjoyed with dessert. 


** If you don’t want to use Moscato d'Asti, you can use a simple syrup instead.  Combine 2 Tbps. Sugar and 2 Tbsp. water.  In a small saucepan, boil the water with the sugar. Let cool before adding to the blender.



MY NOTES
  • I’m guessing you can tell my addition of cayenne; I love the sweet and spicy combination.   In hindsight, some fresh jalapenos and maybe some cilantro would be really good mixed in with the crab.  There are a lot of possibilities.  
  • If I am going to eat it right away, I will add a few ice cubes to blender with the soup so that it is cold.  Otherwise, I just chill the soup for a couple hours before I plan to serve it.  The melon soup can be refrigerated overnight if you want to make it ahead of time.
  • I love having this for lunch or dinner on a hot summer day.  It can be served as a meal or as a first course.   

Cheers!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa


I thought this would be a great recipe in honor of National Hot and Spicy Day.  I bet you didn't know there was such a day, did you?   Well there is and it is today (August 19), so Happy National Hot and Spicy Day!   As if August isn't hot enough!   Regardless, I hope you find some heat in your life today.  Might I suggest this amazingly fresh salsa?  Now that corn is coming into season, it is perfect timing to whip some up.  

Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salsa


Ingredients

  • Fresh corn kernels (cook 1-3 ears of corn in boiling water, let cool and cut off  the cob)
  • Diced red onion
  • Diced cucumber
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Finely chopped jalapeno pepper (or a spicier pepper is you desire more heat)
  •  Minced garlic
  • Can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Cayenne
  • Cumin 



NOTE:  I deliberately did not put in any measurements because you can just add as much as you’d like; you need to play and taste as you go.   Add a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of cumin and then taste it to see what you think.   Add ¼ cup of lime juice and then taste it to see if you want more.  (You could also add a dash of orange juice).  Love cucumber and cilantro?  Load it up!   Want to really add some heat?   Add a lot of hot peppers.  You get the idea.   You can also be creative and add in other ingredients, such as green onions, bell peppers, etc….  Make it your own.

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.  Remove and serve with tortilla chips.  How easy is that?  Well, maybe all that chopping isn’t so easy but it is easily worth it.  I promise.

Pairing: A margarita!  Duh!  


I’m sure this salsa would be great with grilled steak or chicken or with cheese in a quesadilla; but honestly, I just love it with tortilla chips (and also some guacamole on the side).   That said, I will say the salsa also goes great in eggs (scrambled or omelet) for a little hot and spicy Mexican breakfast.



Cheers!