Thursday, July 14, 2011

French Friday with Dorie: Cold Melon-Berry Soup

I don’t know how we ever survived without Son-In-Law married to daughter #4.  He is a plumber and working hard to start his own business...and he is becoming quite successful.  I’ve told him over and over that if everyone has as many plumbing problems as we do, he’ll be rich someday.  He will never hurt for work.

Today, a main water pipe running from the house to the street was overcome and broken up by tree roots and it has to be dug up and replaced.  It is 9 feet down so we are hiring 2 men who will dig for 8 hours in our 110^ AZ sun. 

(Note to myself from the next morning: Since AZ has become tougher on illegal immigrant workers, there is a lack of Mexican men who are great at doing these kinds of digging jobs out in the heat.  I wondered who might be available to dig.  Even with unemployment being extremely high I don’t personally know any men who would come last minute and dig a 9 foot deep hole that is wide enough to fit a man and tools and working room to throw out the dirt.  Son-In-Law phoned “Labor Ready,” a business that hires out day laborers–finds work by the day or week for anyone willing to work.  Most of the men are recently released from jail or prison, homeless, or they have lost their jobs and can’t find work.   Instead of getting in my truck and driving downtown and finding men  hanging out on street corners as we all previously an AZ tradition, this company makes sure workers are legal, they provide insurance, proper clothing, shovels, water, etc.  The workers are given a map and transportation.  They showed up at five till six this morning...right on time, speak English, and are grateful for the work.  When I checked on them after 3 hours of digging, they had made great progress and the only complaint was that the shoes “Labor Ready” had provided one of the workers were just a little to small so he took them off once in a while to let his feet stretch...even their sturdy work shoes are provided.  This is such a much better system for hiring day laborers over finding cheep illegal help who work for cash payment, who do not contribute taxes, and which has been the norm in our construction industry, landscaping, cooks, etc forever here in AZ.  I must say I am really impressed.  For 8 hours of work out in the heat for two men, it will cost me about $200.  Since I had previously tipped the Mexican labor, which has a going rate of $10 per hour, and sent things home for their families like bags of groceries, gently used clothing, etc...these men are quite a bargain and under much better circumstances...and they are legal.)

Son-In-Law worked hard today to get the problem under control...nothing was working including toilets, showers, sinks...all a big bad stinky problem. 

To help him cool off and relax just a little, I decided to make Dorie’s Cold Melon-Berry Soup.  It seemed like what was needed and was also our assignment for this week’s cooking project.

First I went shopping for a very ripe cantaloupe and some fresh strawberries.  Other items were in the house.  Also, my little kiddies were coming to visit and they always love to use the special dishes and pretty things, so I decided to put the “soup” into goblets and to garnish the top with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

I added a couple of bananas and extra juice...I used white grape juice instead of wine... to the recipe which stretched it out to make enough.   After pureeing the fruits, lime juice, and other ingredients creating the soup-juice, and after dividing it among the goblets, I added melon balls and strawberries to each serving.  The treat was topped with a small scoop of ice cream and garnished with a dab of freshly made strawberry jam.

The bananas tasted great in this mixture, but caused a separation in the juice.  The color of the cantaloupe, juice, and bananas was blah causing me to wish I had also added some of my extra berries to the fruit being juiced.  (I did blend all the left-overs for Honey’s bottle, and it was a very pretty pink.)  Looking down onto the goblet tops, my “soup” was quite pretty, but in my photos, the color and texture does not look very appetizing.

This soup reminds me of a runny smoothie that needs more ice cream or yogurt or something. Without the ice cream and bananas, this recipe would have been very watery.

But it did cool down my hard working Son-In-Law who loves fresh fruits.  Next time I’ll stick to my more yummy smoothie recipes and leave this type of chunky yet liquidy soup to the French.  (The kiddies liked it, but they like anything with ice cream.)

I looked at other fruit soup recipes on the internet, and nothing really excited me.  Fruit salads and fresh fruit smoothies seem to be a better choice.  I’ll be interested to see what my fellow Doristas have done with this recipe.



  1. I too struggled to figure out what to do with this recipe, and from reading some of the other posts it seems we are not the only ones. Adding ice cream seems like a great idea and certainly does seem to be the perfect refreshment for someone working out in 100 degree heat. You are very lucky to have someone in the family who can resolve such problems.

  2. Interesting post. I struggle with my absolute fondness for my regular handyman (I suffer from "old house syndrome".) and the plight of the illegal workers.

  3. I think you nailed it, it's the texture that seems all wrong to me too! It's kind of wishy-washy. It really does need something else to flesh it out.
    Plumbing problems scare me! You're lucky to have a plumber in the family!!

  4. It was different. Ice cream is perfect. Think I will stick to my 'straight' cantaloupe.

  5. Nice variation! It does sound delicious with all those changes.

  6. As long as Honey had the pretty version, that's what matters :-)
    Good luck with your plumbing! (I have a 100+ year old house - and at times it can be a handyman's dream... I am very lucky that The Dude used to be an electrician)

  7. The ice cream looks pretty and sounds yummy too!

  8. I enjoyed reading your story and loved the way you segued to FFWD cold soup! Serving with ice cream was a great idea and probably even more refreshing. Sorry about your plumbing ordeal but it sounds like you're on top of the problem and things will be back to normal soon;-)

  9. Kris, It seems you can't catch a break. What with the Haboob last week and now this! Your soup does look wonderful…I actually enjoyed this! Sorry it wasn't a hit with you. Good luck with your plumbing!

  10. Mine was much more orange from the cantaloupe, but I didn't add any juice to mine. I think the kiddies enjoyed it. :)

  11. I blended all the fruit together - plus half a peach. It felt a bit more substantial than what I thought it would be. It made for a great 'breakfast for dinner' meal.

  12. Great addition with the bananas! Sounds like a great tasting smoothie!

  13. What a great idea to add the ice cream. A perfect cooler in such hot weather!

  14. Good luck with all your plumbing problems. Your interpretation of
    the recipe looks wonderful. We did not care for this soup either,
    but maybe Tricia and I can redo as a smoothie.