Tag Archives: Moosewood

A dish best served cold.

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Cold soups always seem like a special indulgence. It’s like getting to eat dessert before dinner. As a kid, when I first discovered  these blends of fruit and yogurt at Judie’s restaurant, I loved the sugary sweet flavors of blueberry and strawberry in a barely thinned soup (served alongside my popover with apple butter). Cooking in my twenties, I discovered the purées in Silver Palate and Moosewood cookbooks that put fresh fruit center stage.

When I went to develop this recipe for fresh plum soup I wanted something that walked that edge of savory. Let’s leave dessert for the end of the meal. Fresh stewed plums and ginger delivered strong but tart fruit flavors. Red wine gave depth, sweet honey brought out the plums and buttermilk added richness. When our tasting team asked if this was going to be called “plum and honey soup,” we dialed back the distinct floral flavors of the honey with a light, fruit vinegar.

Serve chilled as the perfect start to a light summer meal or ahead of rich, smoky, grilled meats.

Ruby Plum Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6 plums, pitted and diced
  • 1 tbs finely minced ginger
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup Ruby Red Grapefruit Vinegar*

*Brand new at Sapore in DC. Substitute a fruit infused white wine vinegar or a splash of champagne vinegar, which is more acidic.

Directions:

  • Place plums in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for five minutes.
  • Add wine. Cover and cook for five minutes more.
  • Remove from stove and let cool to room temperature.
  • Pass half the cooked plums through a food mill or processor. Add to a bowl with the remaining stewed plums and stir together.
  • Add honey and buttermilk.
  • Season to taste with vinegar. add half of it at first and add more as needed.
  • Chill and serve.
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Every bit as good as you remember.

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Katrina and I made this soup together in the summer of 1994 in Waterville, ME. She had rented an apartment downtown off the Concourse and I drove up from my summer job, waiting tables, in Boothbay Harbor. In the thick, wet August heat we sat in the kitchen, fan humming, drinking chilled, cheap, white wine and flipping through her copy of Mooosewood, looking for ways to avoid turning on the stove.

If you grew up eating healthy food in the 70’s and early 80’s you grew up with Moosewood. Your Mom had paperback copies of the Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest on the shelf. The pages were stained for every recipe she had made from spinach-crust quiche to Confetti Spaghetti. This is where we first encountered whole wheat, honey and wheat germ. It was healthy whole food before we decided that real food couldn’t possibly be healthy.

We tested this soup the other night without consulting Mollie but I think we’re close. For texture, we seeded the cucumbers, then shredded them with the box grater rather than the food processor. Thin, fresh, full-fat Amish yogurt was a perfect base. Mint and dill added brightness and a squeeze of lemon brought the tartness we were missing. We thinned the soup with water without watering it down.

Testing the recipe at 10pm on a hot muggy night in DC I was back on college. Katrina, who I had not spoken to in fifteen years, had contacted me on Facebook just that day. The soup was every bit as good as I remember, and the wine was just a little bit better.

Creamy Cucumber Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 large cucumbers, grated
  • 2 cups Amish yogurt, plain
  • 1 tbs mint, finely diced
  • 2 tbs dill, chopped
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Onions and diced cucumbers for garnish

Directions:

  • Using a microplane, grate the shallot and garlic into a large bowl.
  • Stir in the cucumbers and yogurt.
  • Stir through fresh herbs.
  • Add water to dilute to desired consistency.
  • Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. You may not need to use all of the juice. Add a tablespoon or two at a time.
  • Garnish with diced onions, cucumbers.