WATERMELON GAZPACHO

WATERMELON GAZPACHO 5 lbs. fresh watermelon (about 1/4 of a medium watermelon) 1/4 teaspoon (generous) peeled and finely minced ginger root 2 tablespoons sugar, or a little more to taste 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup ripe mango or fresh peach, peeled and finely diced 1/2 cup dark sweet cherries, pitted and diced 1/3 cup green seedless grapes, quartered 1/3 cup fresh blueberries 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated Mint sprigs or chopped fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Seed and cut enough chunks from watermelon to make 2 3/4 cups. Combine seeded chunks, ginger root, sugar, and lemon juice in blender or processor. Blend until completely smooth. Transfer puree to a large bowl.

Seed and dice remaining watermelon flesh; discard rind and lighter-colored flesh. Add diced watermelon, mango, cherries, grapes, blueberries, and lemon zest to puree. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or until well chilled; do not keep longer than 12 hours.

Serve immediately in pre-chilled small glass bowls or soup cups. Garnish with mint if desired.

Serves 5. DILLY ICED CARROT SOUP 2 teaspoons margarine 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 3 1/3 cups chicken stock or broth (defatted), divided 2 1/2 cups carrots (about 1 lb.), chopped 3/4 cup potato, peeled and diced 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon white pepper 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed, coarse stems removed or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed Dill weed sprigs for garnish (optional)

In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt margarine. Add onion and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in flour until well blended and continue cooking and stirring 30 seconds longer. Gradually add 2 cups of stock, stirring until smooth. Add carrots, potato, salt, and white pepper, and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.

Lower heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes or until carrots are just cooked through. Remove pan from heat and let mixture cool slightly.

Transfer mixture to blender. Blend on low speed 10 seconds; then raise speed to high and blend until completely pureed and smooth. Transfer soup to noncorrosive storage container.

Combine remaining 1 1/3 cups stock and yogurt in blender. Blend a few seconds until thoroughly combined. Stir yogurt mixture and dill weed into soup storage container. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours before serving.

Ladle soup into small bowls or soup cups. Garnish servings with sprig of dill weed if desired.

Makes 5 to 6 servings. WEST AFRICAN CURRIED CHICKEN SOUP

Pineapple and curry team up to give this soup its pleasing flavor. We like to serve it as a first course to a summer dinner or luncheon. If you like, it can also be served hot. The recipe calls for a cooked half chicken breast. This can be poached in a small amount of broth or cooked in a microwave. 2 teaspoons margarine 2 celery stalks, diced 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 medium-sized garlic clove, minced 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (defatted), divided 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons mild curry powder, or to taste 3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose white flour 1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained 1 small half chicken breast, cooked, boned, and skinned and cut into 1/2-in. pieces 1/4 cup whole milk

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Add celery, onion, garlic, and about 3 tablespoons of chicken broth. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Remove pan from heat. In a small bowl, blend together curry powder and flour. Add this mixture to pan, and blend well with wooden spoon.

Return pan to heat. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add 1 cup more chicken broth, stirring constantly with wire whisk or wooden spoon until mixture is smooth. Add remaining chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Then cover, lower heat, and simmer about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Add pineapple, chicken and milk and stir to mix well. Cover, and chill soup at least 5 hours or overnight.

This soup keeps 2 to 3 days in refrigerator.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

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