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Friday, July 23, 2010

On Steamy Nights Like This...

To be introspective in 100 Degrees... and the humidity has got to be about the same %, is just not in my repetoire this evening. A cold shower and a snooze in front of a fan is the remedy that I am looking for. The pollywog concurs, judging by the discomfort in my lower abdomen. But alas, I do have some remarkably delectable recommendations to leave you with that will please your palate until this Northeastern United States wave of heat and humidity subsides (and will satisfy your sweet tooth without refined sugars, preservatives, and all of the other yucky stuff that is not good for you). Try these heat-beating palate pleasers; all they will require is a visit to your local farmstand or produce market!

1. Frozen Bananas (You will swear that this dessert is not healthy because it is soooooooo tasty!)
Throw a bunch (however many you'd like) of ripe bananas in the freezer for an hour. Remove them, peel them, and throw them in the blender on puree until the consistency looks like baby food. Spoon the contents into ceramic dishes, ramikins... (whatever works and can withstand 1/2 hour in the freezer) and freeze for 1/2 hour. Remove, and dig in!!!

2. Strawberry Soup (This recipe is from the Food Network and is DELIGHTFUL and easy)
2 cups hulled and sliced fresh or (thawed) frozen strawberries
1 cup orange juice(
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped topping, as needed
Fresh mint sprigs, optional
In a blender, combine all the ingredients but the whipped topping and mint and process until smooth.(chill for 1/2 hour) Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of whipped topping. Garnish with mint, if desired

3. Summer Fruit Soup (BAM... and Emeril Lagasse Recipe that I have doctored to make it without refined sugars)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 cups chopped strawberries
2 cups chopped pineapple
1 1/2 cups chopped mango
2 pieces lemon peel
2 pieces lime peel
2 pieces orange peel
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups raw, unrefined sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup blueberries
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Saute the ginger in a medium pot over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes (no oil is necessary.) Add 2 cups strawberries, 1 cup pineapple, 3/4 cup mango and the lemon, lime and orange peels; cook for another 2 minutes. Add water, sugar and fruit juices and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then transfer in batches to a blender or food processor. Puree and strain into a large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup pineapple, 3/4 cup mango and blueberries. Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with mint sprigs for garnish.

4. Cold Cucumber Soup (Soooo refreshing!)
3 cups plain nonfat yogurt( iprefer the Nonfat Greek Yogurt variety)
1 English cucumber (about 1 pound), cut into chunks
1 scallion, white and green parts, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato (about 5 ounces), seeded and diced
2 teaspoons olive oil
In a blender, combine the yogurt, cucumber, scallion and dill. Pulse until pureed. Season, to taste, with sea salt and pepper. Ladle into individual bowls. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons of diced tomato, drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and garnish with a dill sprig.

5. Aqua Fresca di Frutta (So yummy and so easy!)

1 large cantaloupe or 1/2 a watermelon, seeded and diced (about 3 cups)

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup raw, unrefined sugar, plus more to taste

2 to 3 limes, juiced

Pinch sea salt

Puree cantaloupe or watermelon in a food processor and pour through a fine sieve to eliminate pulp. In a pitcher, mix strained fruit puree with water and add raw sugar, lime juice, and sea salt, to taste.

Chef's Note: This and other similar fruit drinks, which translate literally as "fresh water," are served all over Mexico and they're a cinch to replicate at home. The key is to strain the pulpy fruit to make a clearer liquid. Instead of melon, you could use strawberries, pineapple, mango, or any fruit that is soft enough to puree.

...and what better music to cradle a hot July afternoons and evenings, sipping on cool beverages and eating cold delicacies than the ever-sultry and perfect Lady Day aka Billie Holiday... a tortured comrade with a gift beyond recognition.

Download of the Day - "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday

In addition to listening to her, read about her; she'll bring you to your knees. (Upper Right Margin)

Stay Cool -
Amanda xo
p.s. - Don't forget to dive into Ana Guida's world, captured in waterlogged letters at the bottom of her highly-unfashionable backpack- DAILY:

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