When it is scorching hot and the air is heavy, my culinary inspiration level usually hovers around zero. And as I mentioned before, pastry is not my forte but at the end of the meal most people are expecting dessert. Go figure. So on such a day baking a dessert, or anything really, is out and there are just so many times I can serve sorbet or fresh fruit splashed with Grand Marnier. Enter: Melon Soup. In addition to dessert, this can also double as a cool starter on a steamy summer day. My version of this recipe is about as simple as you can get. I don’t add a lot of ingredients because I prefer my melon soup to taste like, oh I don’t know, melon! Serve them in bright colored bowls for a casual meal or try a martini glass for a more elegant, formal setting.

The melons I found here were simply called Melon Jaune d’Espagne or yellow melon from Spain. They resembled Crenshaw melons though not as sweet. The Crenshaw, one of my favorites, is a hybrid between the casaba and Persian melon. A yellowish-green skin protects it’s pink-salmon-ish flesh and can grow to ten pounds. They are in season from July thru October but peak in August and September. I recommend giving your melons a quick rinse before cutting them so no dirt or such gets on the flesh.

• 2 melons
• 1 tbsp honey
• squeeze of lemon or lime
• 20+ mint leaves (or however many you like for your taste)
• sugar to taste

1. wash melons, cut in half, scoop out seeds. slice into wedges and cut of skin. cut into cubes.

2. place cubes in blender, add honey, lemon or lime juice, and mint and puree. taste.

3. if you want it to be sweeter, add sugar a teaspoon at a time until you reach the taste you want.

4. chill and serve.

Some recipes include yogurt to give it a creamier texture. Others call for grappa (Michael Chiarello), apple juice (Emeril Lagasse), white wine (Nick Nairn), and one I found that claims to hail from the South of France includes cinnamon, cloves, ginger and a vanilla bean! So I guess the message is “go crazy, add what ever you want, what ever strikes your fancy, what ever you’re in the mood for.” Bon appetit.

Soupe de Melon Jaune 29 July,2005Cucina Testa Rossa


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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