Tuesday 31 July
Tomorrow, 1 August, is opening day of the Hamilton County Fair, so today was the day to get your entries down to the Agricultural Pavilion (4-7 PM). We've been entering (when we've been home) since 1999. Most of yesterday and today was spend trying various things and eating the results. We'll tell you how we did later.
Cold soups are perfect: the Fair enters them as hors d'oeuvres, and they need no cooking at this season, which is usually hotter than the hinges of - you know.
The first was raspberry. We had found some lovely berries at the Market, ate half of them immediately over Graeter's peach ice cream and dunked the rest into the true water of life, i.e. triple sec. Grinded up with a little drained yogurt to make the first soup, which was a kick in the palate of the essential juice of raspberry (as Mr. Mantalini no doubt said to Mrs. Mantalini).
The second was honeydew. We had tested the melon itself for dinner the night before, and it was lovely and sweet. Grind up fresh mint leaves with a little sugar (to act as grit), then blitz the honeydew. At this point you can add a little apple juice (the frozen concentrate) or orange juice, but usually it's best on its own. Yogurt, again, to taste. This we've been making for years, usually as part of a ying-yang soup. The yin is usually a similar cantaloupe soup, but flavored with the old folksong quartet of "cinnamon and ginger/nutmeg and cloves" (. . . "and that gave me / my jolly red noves"). Add two reserved melon balls for the spots.
After pouring off a cup each to enter at the Fair, we had a soup-off, with a lunchtime yin-yang. There was less raspberry, and the honeydew was more complex, but it still looked awfully pretty.
Dinner (not a Fair entry) was roasted vegetable gazpacho. While Holt's breads for the Fair were rising, we grilled some tomatoes and our first poblano pepper from the garden, plus a red onion. Stripped the skins, and whizzed them all up with cilantro and many a de-seeded cuke (which are also starting to appear in abundance, usually hiding under the leaves until they're bigger than Barbara wants them). This soup was waiting for us, nice and cold, when we got back from the fairgrounds. Served up with the smaller of the two loaves of whole wheat bread, whose big brother had gone off to see the Fair, and possibly been exchanged for some magic beans.