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Verses from my Kitchen: Summer Soup: Watermelon, Cucumber & Mint

June 22, 2011

Summer Soup: Watermelon, Cucumber & Mint



I often remember back in some small hope that I never forget. I'll pick up old pictures or newspaper clippings and lose myself in a moment that happened decades ago. Some of those times come back to me like an 8mm film played against the backdrop of my old white brick basement wall. There are moments that rip open an emotion within me and others that cause a numbing reaction.

When I was a kid I played away the hot summer days with my neighbourhood friends. They were the first real friends I ever had. I can remember the scene like it happened yesterday. Our moving truck pulled up alongside our new-to-us brick house and I stood out back watching the movers bring our worldly contents in one by one. I was told to stay out of the way and so I did. And I watched.


Four kids came walking up my driveway with a purpose. Four kids of all ages who followed the moving truck up the street and into the driveway to see if there was another kid just like them waiting to be welcomed home. I haven't seen those kids in forever but I'll always remember them. Clive, Paul, Lesley, Peter and Roag.



I was whisked away from my house on the main street to the side street where they all lived, seemingly together. It was late June and hot and we took up residence on the front lawn of Lesley's house and watched her mom bring out bowls of watermelon for the kids. Even the new kid. I had been there for an hour but it felt like I had lived there for years.

As we sat there laughing, my inner dialogue took over. How could a boy like me get this lucky. If only had I known how lucky I really was. We spent years growing up together and playing down that street. Each hot summer day was spent with my friends, running through a sprinkler or sitting on that front lawn with a bowl of watermelon.  


We grew up on that street, as one. We shared heartache and laughter and successes with each other. We looked after one another. We were family, disguised as young friends. I remember those days as fondly as any in my life.

Roag and Clive moved on after a couple of years but the other three become my closest friends through childhood and into my teens. We spent every summer day off with each other, and on the hottest days of all we shared watermelon on that same lawn as Mrs. K would sit by and smile, just like she did a decade before.


I've always loved soups and I've always had this thing for watermelon. Maybe my affection has more to do with the memories of my days spent on that side street than the fruit itself, I don't know. I do know that every hot summer day I turn to watermelon and watch the 8mm film of my childhood play in my mind. 

Making this soup for those hot days ahead was really a no-brainer. It combined my favourite part of a meal with my favourite summer memory. It's refreshing and loaded with intense flavours. Fresh mint, cucumber, hot pepper and, of course,
watermelon. One spoonful will have you feeling like you ran through the sprinkler of your youth. 



From my kitchen to yours, happy eating.


Watermelon, Cucumber & Mint Soup

The Goods:
  • 4 cups, large seedless watermelon pieces
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium hot green chili, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, sliced (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 tbsp. champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt & cracked pepper
Prep:
  1. Finely diced 1/4 cup of watermelon and set aside. Thinly slice 12 pieces of hot chili and set aside and also reserve some thinly sliced mint as well.
  2. Using a large bowl, add in the large watermelon chunks, sliced chili, green onion, cucumber, lime juice and zest, mint, vinegar and olive oil. Stir.
  3. Transfer the bowl in batches to a blender and puree until smooth. Push through a fine sieve into another large bowl and season with salt & pepper. Place in the refrigerator for an hour, or until chilled.
  4. Ladle into four bowls and garnish with watermelon, chili and mint. Serve.


** I wanted to give everyone a heads up that the Nudie Foodies cookbook is now available for purchase. I'm excited to announce that I'm one of the food blogger participants and very happy to be one of the 18 people included. Inside you'll find both an image and recipe from each food bloggger. The book can be purchased from The Blurb's Website !

  “The Nudie Foodies features 18 knockout recipes and full-color photos of the delectable and scantily-clad food bloggers who created them. Best of all, when you purchase this book, 100% of the net profits are donated to AmeriCares relief efforts in Japan post-earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe.”

9 Comments:

At June 22, 2011 at 8:44 AM , Blogger bellini said...

In the hot summer months I love to make a watermelon hazpacho. Watermelon of my childhood reminds me of "spitting" contests with my siblings with a dunk in the pool afterwards:D

 
At June 22, 2011 at 8:47 AM , Blogger Meeta K. Wolff said...

Mike what a delightful read. Yes and watermelon brings on so many great childhood memories, including the spitting contest Belinni mentioned! Love the refreshing flavors of this soup!

 
At June 22, 2011 at 10:33 AM , Anonymous MikeVFMK said...

Thanks Bellini and Meeta! I also remember spitting contests and tossing watermelon from a rooftop patio down the street, but those were special days with special people.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 9:21 PM , Blogger SweetSavoryPlanet said...

What a lovely story. We had lots of watermelon when I was a kids and were told "don't eat the seeds because they will grow out of your ears". I sort of believed it but didn't stop eating the melon or the seeds.

this soup looks refreshing and delicious.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 9:34 PM , Blogger A Thought For Food said...

I have no problem imagining what this tastes like, how refreshing it must be to consume this after a day in the sun. Another wonderful recipe, Mike!

 
At June 23, 2011 at 8:49 AM , Anonymous Carolyn said...

Now this is one I need to try. I have a hard time picturing watermelon in savoury dishes but I always love them when I taste them!

 
At June 23, 2011 at 8:45 PM , Anonymous Leanna @ Raptortoe said...

This sounds so refreshing :)

 
At June 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM , Blogger The Mistress of Spices said...

This sounds so different, refreshing and delicious! I haven't had any watermelon yet this summer (shame!), but I think I'll pick some up at the market this weekend and try this soup among other things. Thanks for sharing!

 
At July 1, 2011 at 3:01 PM , Blogger Pola said...

What a great soup! Sound like the perfect alternative to gazpacho!

 

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