Thursday, May 26, 2011

Labbits Like: Chilled Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup

Pipkin gets his rhubarb from the Bellows Falls Farmer's Market

All of a sudden, it seems the hot hazy days of summer have arrived in southern Vermont. Not that many here will complain, having had a full week of rain. Happily the sun was out and it brought lots of people out to the weekly farmer's market in Bellows Falls.

Pipkin picks out the tender pinky-red stalks
Pipkin went with a mission - to pick out some lovely tender stalks of rhubarb to cook up in a chilled strawberry-rhubarb soup. When choosing rhubarb stalks, go for the young, dark pink and slender stalks, which will be sweeter and more tender than the longer, greener stalks. Be sure to discard any leaves, trim the ends, and peel off any stringy covering before use.

You'll only need a few more ingredients: strawberries, sugar, water, salt and pepper, and a generous sprinkling of basil or mint. Get ready for a perfectly refreshing chilled soup for a hot and muggy day. Print out the recipe here.

Chilled Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup

4 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or mint, plus more for garnish
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring rhubarb and 3 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook until the rhubarb is very soft and broken down, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Put a copule inches of ice water in a large bowl and set the bowl with the rhubarb in it to help cool it quickly. (If you aren't in a hurry, you can skip the ice-water bath.) Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cool, at least 20 minutes.

Transfer the rhubarb to a blender. Add strawberries, sugar and salt; blend until smooth. Return to the bowl and stir in 1/3 cup basil (or mint). Serve sprinkled with more herbs and a generous grinding of pepper. 

Serves: 4 hot, thirsty labbits

Recipe: June 2011 Eating Well Magazine.

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