4.22.2009

Savor the Moment

It’s way past time to talk a little about cookbooks. We always talk recipes, but never enough about the cookbooks we find them in. One of my favorites is Savor the Moment- a treat for the visual senses. You’ll just love it. The Junior League of Boca Raton published it in January of 2000. Great photography and design are a big part of its success, but let's face it, the recipes have got to be meticulously tested and super good to rack up sales. And believe me- these stand the test. There are even a couple of my own recipes in there….thank God; how embarrassing if I had nothing scrumptious enough to get in!

We all own some Junior League cookbooks- I would be amazed if you told me you didn’t. But in this one, the photographs by Dan Forer are breath-taking… with rather enchanting and unique mise en scènes. And you don’t need to live in Boca Raton to appreciate them either. The book highlights special menus aboard a yacht, playing croquet, in a garden on the grounds of our Morikami Museum, on a polo field and a picnic under a beachside gazebo. The vignettes go on page after delightful page- in color and in exquisite taste. One that absolutely charms me every time I see it also makes me think of the 20’s for some reason; Nick and Nora Charles must be lounging just out of the camera's reach:


Don’t you love it? (I probably should have chosen one featuring food rather than gin, but you can’t beat a good martini.) I seem to be rambling on about the visuals rather than the flavors but let me reassure you: while the photography is first class, so are the recipes within. Everything gels perfectly to form a nifty book -think Christmas or birthday gifts here. It’s a bigtime winner. It’s also an award-heavy book; one important one among many: it won the 2001 James Beard Foundation/KitchenAid Book Awards. And what’s really sweet about this book ( and all other Junior League cookbooks) is it raises funds directly benefiting community projects. How can you beat all this? I'm going to make it really simple for you to order: cookbook@jlbr.com or http://www.jlbr.org/. Trust me on this one- it’s a super addition to everyone’s cookbook library.


Anyway……just because it’s spring (you know- cherry blossoms, forsythia, pre-wedding parties) and just because this is a luscious-looking, delicious and versatile soup, I'm going to share Savor the Moment’s Strawberry Patch Soup recipe with you- which, as it turns out, is a mere side bar on one of the pages. Mere being an understatement in this case.

My introduction to Strawberry Patch Soup was at an engagement party- where practically everything was pink, including most of the women’s dresses and the men’s ties. And to top it all off, after we had been munching on various hor d’oeuvres for a while, glass cups half filled with this soup were passed on silver platters. Chilled of course, and what could be more unusual? And pink. Clever hostess.

It’s really tough to classify. I wouldn’t call it a dessert soup (though there's no reason you couldn't serve it as a light dessert)… not a savory soup either. Something in between I guess; because it’s not particularly sweet, but it goes down really smoothly- especially on a hot evening, which this was. Someone mentioned the recipe was in Savor the Moment and I dug the recipe out and have since served it several times. Always in a crystal bowl so everyone could serve themselves and usually at a luncheon. Luckily, I discovered some small glass cups in my pantry which were the perfect size because I consider this is a sipping soup not a sit-down-and-have-a-bowlful type soup.

Not that there aren't plenty of recipes for Strawberry Soup around, but none quite like this one. The instructions in the original recipe don't mention this, but I like the soup to be really smooth and creamy so I strain the strawberries after I have processed them. It takes some elbow grease, but the results are worth it: a soft pink and no seeds.

Get creative with your serving glasses, but you can’t miss if you serve it icy cold on a warm day- in a garden or on your patio. It seems to be a ladies luncheon soup to me, but remember, I first had it in the evening- at a cocktail party. And everyone loved it.


Strawberry Patch Soup
(Adapted from Savor the Moment, Junior League of Boca Raton, Florida)

Ingredients:
16 ounces fresh strawberries
1 cup sour cream
1 cup half and half
¼ cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons Riesling

Method:
Combine strawberries and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until well blended. Because I like a smooth soup, I take the time to press the mixture through a fine sieve.

Return the strained mixture to the processor, add the other ingredients and pulse until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You can garnish with mint and strawberries if you like. I would guess this serves a small glass to about 15 people or if you serve it as a dessert, perhaps 8 -10 servings.

1 comment:

  1. Barbara, I'm so glad you told me about this soup. It sounds and looks divine. I love the idea of serving it in a crystal bowl. You can count on the fact that I will be trying this. You know how I love to serve soup at cocktail parties and as a appetizer for dinner parties, especially since now we're spending more time in Florida.
    Sam

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