Refreshing and cooling with a hint of spice and mint. Chilled Melon Soup makes a light appetizer, and is delicious as an accompaniment to an alfresco summer dinner. This recipe is vegetarian + gluten free.
A Food Photography Adventure
A few weekends ago I headed North for a food photography, styling and cooking workshop. I’d never been to Lummi Island, although not too far from Whidbey Island. I was looking forward to visiting and learning in a small group setting, expanding my skills and craft.
Getting to Lummi was an adventure in itself. Just about a two-hour drive North to Bellingham, WA, I then headed West to meet the ten-car ferry. After a five-minute ride across Lummi Bay, I drove onto the Island and followed a narrow two lane winding road past old farm houses, farms, and a few restaurants with sweeping views of the Salish Sea. My first stop along the way was Nettles Farm, an Inn and working farm I and other workshop attendees stayed at.
Riley, the owner and his dog Stella, the truffle hunter, welcomed me to the Inn. The farm-house has several common areas with a full kitchen surrounded by private rooms and baths. It’s an arrangement that encourages togetherness and helped the seven of us in attendance get to know each other. I quickly felt at home and was in good company.
Stories shared. New friends. Lots of wine.
We met Jim Henkens, renowned photographer, and Renee Erickson, award-winning Northwest chef and restauranteur, at Jim’s beach house turned workshop retreat for Friday evening activities, food and libations.
Jim’s home, West facing, sets across the street from the beach. It’s an old home he’s restoring with old world European charm. Large windows allow light to fill the space and with expansive views of the sound, there’s never a dull moment.
In the open kitchen with its large reclaimed and repurposed work island, chefs stove and all the tools you can imagine, we learned about building flavors, handed down recipes, techniques, food styling and discussed food politics. All hands were a part of preparing several recipes. We watched, created, talked, photographed and ate so much!
A perfect setting for learning and a most memorable weekend.
I was exhausted but so inspired upon my return home Sunday afternoon.
There’s no better way to be inspired then to immerse and surround yourself with skilled and talented people who share enthusiasm for their craft.
A Welcoming Appetizer
Chilled Melon Soup was one of the first things offered when I arrived Friday after Annie, our generous hostess, poured me a glass of wine. The soup was served in delicate aperitif glasses, my inspiration for service too. I was happy to see our local thrift store had a variety of these sweet little glasses for $.25 each at half off!
Renee’s recipe calls for Galia, Crenshaw or Charentais melon. I use Galia here, but also, I’d use Snow Leopard Melon if I couldn’t find the others. Like Galia, it has a pale, very light green color and is mildly sweet.
None of the flavors in this soup are overwhelming. It’s simple, yet leaves a lasting impression.
Chilled Melon Soup is light, refreshing and is a welcome appetizer on a warm summer day. It’s subtly sweet, and creamy with only a hint of mint, lime and cayenne coming through. I garnished with a pinch more cayenne. Because you know, cayenne (!!).
It whips up super fast in the blender with a few hour chill in the refrigerator, making it convenient to prepare ahead of when needed.
Chilled Melon Soup
- 3-4 lb (about 1 kg) Sweet Summer Melon such as Galia, Leopard or Crenshaw
- 1/2 C (146g) Whole Milk or Greek Yogurt
- 1/4 C (50g) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Large Lime zested and juiced, plus more for seasoning
- 3-4 Mint Leaves
- 1 tsp Flaky Sea Salt such as maldon, plus more for seasoning
- Pinch of Cayenne
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer if needed. If using a high-speed blender, I find this step unnecessary. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Serve chilled in small bowls, glasses or cups. Garnish with a pinch of cayenne or a drizzle of olive oil. Store in a lidded container, in the refrigerator for up to four days.
This soup sounds so refreshing and delicious! I love the addition of mint in it! Your weekend sounds so rejuvenating! Love it!
So refreshing Amisha… and that mint… I’m with ya! xo
Such good memories from our time on Lummi. Such a pleasure to meet you there. Your photography is stunning and you have inspired me to whip up this soup for guests we have coming to the house on Labor Day.
Me too Carol! You’re going to love how quick it comes together… There’s so many other recipes of Renee’s I can’t wait to give a go… I’m working my way through her book and am enjoying her writing.
Laura | Tutti Dolci
I just did a quick search of Lummi island, and it looks absolutely incredible! What a picturesque location for such a wonderful workshop. So glad you had the opportunity! :)
It’s a special little island with such beautiful character. I know you would have loved it Laura!
Your retreat was well deserved no doubt and looked deliciously fun. I want to know all the things you ate! Love the intimate way you photograph your food. The fruit soup looks fit for royalty. I too have been enjoying the fruit season more than ever this year as the blackberries are particularly delicious and plentiful and the hot days make them taste all the better. Thank you!
Thank you for your feedback Heide! The workshop: fun and so much learning…. indeed, this soup is so refreshing. Especially in this late summer heat!
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
Love that you are improving your craft, Traci – the workshop sounded like a wonder way to spend the weekend. Finding one near enough to me is on my to do list. This soup looks so refreshing and light – perfect for these hot end of summer days. Have a great weekend!
You know, always learning :D You would have loved it G! I hope you find one close by…
What a dream workshop! Your photographs here are so vibrant. I love how you capture such a light and refreshing soup in the delicate stemmed glassware.
It was pretty fabulous Jean! So much learned, I’m still processing it all and applying some of those new skills! I hope you enjoy the chilled soup.
Kati | black.white.vivid.
That sounds like you had the most wonderful time at the workshop. Also love this recipe. Never thought of using green or yellow melons as a soup base. I just did a peach gazpacho but next time I’ll just replace the peaches with Galia melons :) x Kati
It was fabulous, Kati! That’s what I love about this recipe.. how unique it is. But it works so well. We love it! I hope you do too! I’ll have to check out your peach gazpacho! <3
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the workshop Traci! I’d love to sign up for one. This soup looks so refreshing. Just perfect for summer. Love the mint and the pinch or two of cayenne. What a steal on the lovely glasses! They look beautiful in your photos!
They’ll be more workshops out on Lummi… shall I let you know when I hear of another? Yeah, those glasses were a find! I was thrilled!
This sounds so refreshing! Love the light flavor profile of this recipe!
Thank you Luci!
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
That workshop sounds like a dream come true! I have been wanting to attend one for a while now but haven’t found one near me that looks enticing. All of the good ones are out west. :/
I can see why you created this chilled melon soup. It looks so creamy and refreshing! I love the way you styled the photographs too. So beautiful.
Thaaank you Sarah! Sounds like you’ll need to make a trip out to the West! Shall I ping you when I see the next one offered.. perhaps next summer?