Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Watermelon Soup??

Last night Andrew hosted the last soup night of the season. My lovely league of liquid loyalist had to say good-bye for another year. Andrew made a very unique, spring menu that is heavily Thai influenced. It was a hit! The guests loved the dip. It was the perfect way to start the meal and very easy to make. Enjoy the recipes below and don’t worry just because soup season is over this is not the last you have heard from me….

Avocado and Yogurt Dip with Red Peppers and Sweet Potato Chips
Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
Thai Spiced Watermelon Soup with Crabmeat
Stout Floats with Whipped Cream and Shaved Chocolate

Avocado and Yogurt Dip
Makes 1 1/2 cups
*adapted from Epicurious

1 16-oz container plain low fat yogurt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 large avocado, peeled, halved, pitted, coarsely chopped
4 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
½ jalapeño, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced

Set strainer over medium bowl; line with double layer of cheesecloth. Place yogurt in cloth-lined strainer. Cover with plastic wrap; chill overnight. Discard liquid drained from yogurt. Transfer yogurt to processor. Add cumin to processor, then avocado, 3 tablespoons cilantro, jalapeño, and garlic. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer dip to small bowl. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with sliced red peppers and sweet potato chips.

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
Serves 4
*adapted from Epicurious

1/4 pound small shrimp (about 9), shelled
1/2 lb. green papaya, peeled, seeded, and coarsely shredded, preferably using a mandolin
1 seedless cucumber, shredded
1 carrot, shredded fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, washed well and spun dry
2 tbs roasted peanuts, crushed

For dressing
1 large garlic clove, forced through a garlic press
3 tbs fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
1 serrano chili seeded and chopped fine 

In a bowl whisk together dressing ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Season shrimp with salt. In a sauté pan heat olive oil over medium heat and add shrimp. Cook until golden brown. In a large bowl add shrimp, papaya, carrot, and cilantro to dressing, tossing well. Salad may be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Serve salad sprinkled with peanuts.

Thai Spiced Watermelon Soup with Crabmeat
Serves 4
*adapted from Epicurious

For soup
5 cups coarsely chopped seeded watermelon
1 fresh lemongrass stalk
3 tbs finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 tbs finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 tbs mild olive oil
1 serrano chili, finely chopped including seeds
2 tbs fresh lime juice, or to taste
Sea salt and pepper

For crab
10 oz jumbo lump crabmeat (2 cups), picked over
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tbs mild olive oil
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

For Garnish
lime wedges
chopped scallions

Make soup:

Purée watermelon in a large bowl, using an immersion blender. Discard 1 or 2 outer leaves of lemongrass and trim root end. Thinly slice lower 5 to 6 inches of stalk and then mince, discarding remainder.

Cook lemongrass, shallot, ginger, and garlic in oil in a large saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until aromatics are pale golden, about 5 minutes. Add about one third of watermelon purée and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 5 minutes.

Remove watermelon mixture from heat, add chile, lime juice, and salt and blend until smooth, using an immersion blender. Add remaining watermelon purée and blend briefly. Season soup with more chile, lime juice, and salt if desired, blending if necessary. Return to heat, and warm soup throughout. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare crab:
Toss crabmeat with cilantro, oil, and salt.

Pour soup into bowls, and top with crab. Garnish with lime wedges and scallions.

Stout Floats with Whipped Cream and Shaved Chocolate

We also made root beer floats for the babies. Put two scoops of ice cream in a large glass. Top with either root bear or a double chocolate stout, whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Beer and Wine served

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