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. vegetarian + gluten free
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.
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!
Stories shared. New friends. Lots of wine.
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.
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
Refreshing, cooling with a hint of sweet, spice and mint. Chilled Melon Soup makes a light appetizer, or snack and is delicious as an accompaniment to an alfresco meal. Vegetarian + Gluten Free *Time below does not include time to chill the soup (1-2 hours).
Seed, peel and chop melon into chunks. Add the melon and it's juices into a high-speed blender (I use VitaMix). Add the yogurt, oil, zest, 1 Tbs of lime juice, mint and cayenne. Blend until smooth. Season with additional lime juice, salt and/or cayenne if needed.
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.
Recipe slightly adapted from A Boat + A Whale & A Walrus by Chef Renee Erickson.