Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.

summer melon soup & sunrise toast

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Summer. It’s dog days aren’t quite upon us here just yet, but you can sense their impending arrival. The low, lazy hum of the bugs outside my bedroom window creates the score each morning now, making room for additional bandmates … the lawnmowers, ice cream trucks, and the ch-ch-ch-ch of the neighborhood sprinklers. Those are the sounds of summer these days, kicked off every morning by those relentless bugs. Their chanting, screeching vibrato just reeks of hot, humid midwestern summer days. “Cold days are quiet. Hot days are LOUD!” Elle mentioned the other afternoon, licking the sticky orange juice that dripped down her arm as she worked her way through a popsicle. Passion fruit, I think it was. “That makes this an extra fancy one,” I informed her.

It begins right after the sun has comfortably situated itself up in the sky, that sound to which I refer – the call of the katydid – and it gets louder and louder as the morning minutes tick by. “Get out of bed sleepyhead!” It seems to say. Another summer day has begun. It feels like nature’s cheeky alarm clock, alerting us that the heat is on, that the humidity is here in all its glory, and that we’d better not forget the insect repellant today. It’s gonna be a scorcher …

The siren songs of summer. Lawn mowers! Cicadas! Sprinklers! Playing children! Weed Whackers! Ice cream trucks! Thunderstorms! Fireworks! Like a conductor, August tends to bring them all up to a full crescendo before the Fall months ease them back down to a dull roar … then a low hum … and then finally, winter’s cold blankets the world in silence for a few quiet months. Show’s over for a while. That’s the final act.

Just like the sights, smells and tastes of it all, a year can be pretty interesting if you pay attention to how it sounds. 

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Before I drop my recipe down below for you guys (a fun, refreshing one this time, I think), I wanted to ask a quick favor of you: the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards are live and accepting nominations for a couple more days, and I would truly appreciate any and all nominations you might see fit to give this blog of mine. Perhaps in the Photography category? I had the honor of being recognized last year as a “new voice” and it set Harvest and Honey on a new course – namely, one of greater inspiration and motivation for me. I left my time in NYC ready to push forward and see where I can take this online space of mine, and it’s been a wonderful adventure thus far. Being selected as a finalist in a category such as “best photography” would help to create further opportunities for me as a blogger, and it would help greatly in my pursuit of growth and expansion for this blog. The nomination link is below, and it takes 10 seconds. I appreciate it more than you know!

Until next time, friends.

http://www.saveur.com/blog-awards-nominations-2017

 

Peppered Cantaloupe and Ginger Soup

This is the most refreshing bowl on a hot summer day, and it celebrates the season’s bounty of fresh, sweet melons really well. Honestly though, fruit soups often taste like smoothie bowls to me, so the addition of black pepper, sour cream, sesame oil, spicy ginger, and sesame seeds really helps to make this eat like a chilled soup – not a breakfast smoothie. Quick, simple, refreshing, with a bit of texture on top – this soup has made multiple appearances in my kitchen over the past couple of weeks and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. 

 

Ingredients

6-7 cups coarsely chopped, fully ripe cantaloupe (about 1 large, or 1.5 medium cantaloupes)

2 Tbsp honey

2.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 1/2 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger root

1 heaping Tbsp. finely grated lime zest

1.25 cups whole milk (whatever kind you have on hand)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup shredded fresh basil

2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (these go beautifully with the sweet melon and spicy ginger)

 

Directions

To a blender, add the melon, honey, pepper, sesame oil, grated ginger, and the lime zest and puree it all until very smooth. Transfer this mixture to a bowl and whisk in the milk and sour cream until well-blended (sometimes I use a little more sour cream, to make it extra creamy) Cover, and chill thoroughly (4 or more hours) before serving in bowls.

Garnish each serving with a some chopped basil, extra sour cream, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

 

Summer Sunrise Toast

This is what I like to call a “non recipe recipe.” There is no point in crafting a formal, listed directive on how to make this pretty Summer Sunrise Toast, because it’s just so simple and up to your interpretation. It’s just toast. Sometimes inspiration is where the true value of a recipe lies and that’s what I’m trying to do here. Get creative with your toast! It’s really all the rage.

My toast of the moment is grilled sourdough with a schmear of herbed cream cheese  (softened cream cheese that I whip with basil, mint and thyme) and some pieces  – a few tablespoons worth – of luxurious, creamy burrata cheese. I top that with some slices of summer stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, etc.)  and end with a drizzle of floral honey. When I’m feeling adventurous, I like to gild the lily with a little black lava salt (because I have some) and a sprinkling of some edible flower blossoms. Tis the season, after all.

There you have it. Easy as pie! Easy as toast.

 

 

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Author: Harvest & Honey

Lauren McDuffie is a freelance food and travel writer, photographer, stylist, cookbook author, and award-winning food blogger. She lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband, Lucas, and two children.

One thought on “summer melon soup & sunrise toast

  1. Seriously the most beautiful toast I’ve ever seen. Finished your nomination for the photography category–good luck!!!

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