Soups for the Summer: Chilled Strawberry Basil

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balsamsFor a few years in a row, Christmas break was spent with my extended family at the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch, NH. We would spend the week skiing by day, and enjoying the resort by night. This place is amazing – kind of a cruise ship on dry land, with huge breakfasts, formal dinners, and various activities in the evening – karaoke, movies, the best arcade room ever, and tons of other fun activities (take the memories with a grain of salt – I was probably 14 the last time we were there). The town’s claim to fame is that the first primaries every election year are held in Dixville Notch. It’s a beautiful little New England city, and this resort is gorgeous! (from what I can tell, the Balsams resort is in the process of revamping, and I am hoping they reopen to the public soon!  I can’t wait to take my family there!).

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strawberry soup 3As I mentioned, after a long day of skiing, and a relaxed lunch in the ski lodge, everyone would come back to the resort and get ready for a formal dinner. Men had to wear sports jackets, and the women had to be dressed up. Upon being seated, servers would push carts around with various options for appetizers, dinners, and desserts. To a little kid, this place was glamorous and indulgent, and one of my favorite appetizers every year was a chilled strawberry soup. It was so fancy and unexpected; refreshing after a long day spent bundled up on the slopes!

Every once in a while, I’ve thought back to that unusual soup, but it wasn’t until I was at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago that everything aligned! So, I’ll have to thank the kind cashier that insisted I take home an extra, giant box of organic strawberries…for comparison purposes! He swore up and down the bigger berries were sweeter than the smaller (he was right!). To me, it just meant we had way more strawberries than we could eat before they all went bad! Luckily, my brother-in-law and one of his kids were in town, so we invited a big group over for dinner. Nothing like experimenting when you have ten people over for dinner! I’m not going to lie – I was nervous about this one! But the feedback was incredible! A couple of foodies over and everyone loved it!

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My toddler loves to help out in the kitchen, and this is a great recipe for a little kid. I wanted something a bit more grown-up than what I remembered (which was basically a strawberry milkshake), so I went searching on Pinterest, and found a Chilled Strawberry Basil soup recipe. As usual, this is slightly tweaked, but here goes:

Chilled Strawberry Basil

Ingredients:

  • Blender/food processor
  • 4 cups rinsed and prepped strawberries (tops cut off)
  • 2 cups strawberry greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (and 1 lemon wedge thrown in for sweetness)
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend.
  • Chill or serve immediately.

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I topped this with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprig of basil, and a slice of strawberry. We served the soup as an appetizer before my husband pulled some teriyaki marinated pork tenderloin and bell peppers off the grill! Perfect accompaniment on a warm summer night! And don’t forget the perfect dessert for any grill night – s’mores! Hope you enjoy this cold soup on a summer night soon!

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Katie Livingston

I am a New England girl who has bounced between Connecticut and North Carolina her whole life! Raised by busy parents and with 3 siblings, we often ate very simple meals together, and would come together on Sundays after church for a big meal. In the summers we would head out to a small town in Rhode Island, where there are no chain restaurants. That really established my attitude that it is so important to support small business and source locally grown products. Even to my pre-teen self, you got to know the restaurant owners and their success made you proud! The majority of my developmental jobs were in the restaurant industry. I scooped ice cream. I made sandwiches. I worked in the kitchen at a summer camp, doing hundreds of dishes a night! I managed a snack bar, waited tables, served. Through all these years it instilled many simple and critical habits. How you plate a meal. How it should taste. How you treat people. How the quality of the food is the most important thing. Today, I am happily married with two kids and a full-time job, commuting about an hour a day. We still love eating out and have established a “family date night” every Friday night. It’s our time to come together and breathe. Our kids are 2 and 6 months. We eat at 5:30 – it doesn’t matter how fancy the restaurant is if you go early enough! This gives my husband and me the opportunity to try out new restaurants. It gives us time with the kids and each other without any distractions. We feel normal and fun! The rest of the week I try to get a healthy dinner on the table every night. I love looking at recipes and tweaking them! There’s a lot of crock pot meals and meal prepping. It’s so much fun! I’m so excited to be joining the Girls on Food community and sharing recipe ideas and fun restaurants in and around Raleigh, NC! Follow me on Instagram @RealFood2015 for my day to day!

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