For the 4th of July I made familiar stuff – burgers and dogs, gingered melon balls, feta-spelt salad, and lemon bars. Yum. Later in the weekend I branched out:

Chilled Fresh Strawberry Soup. I figured I’d make my first fruit soup with a recipe from Cooks Illustrated Soups and Stews. Alarmingly simple, it called for macerating fresh berries and then blending them with an equal volume of red grapes. Push the results thru a strainer. The result was thicker and more dessert- or jam-tasting than I would have preferred. But tasty. Hard to go wrong with fresh local berries, after all. Not sure if or how to tweak it. Dairy? Cave and use it as a dessert topping instead of as a soup? Would be good on vanilla ice cream…

Orzo Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables. Well I didn’t have enough (whole wheat) orzo so I also used (whole wheat) elbow macaroni. That was combined with chopped grilled zucchini and red pepper, fresh tomato and basil. Shrimp were dressed with pesto vinaigrette before grilling, and the finished salad was dressed with it too. We liked all the flavors but felt it was missing something overall. I tried adding grated parmesan cheese, but it still needs extra oomph of some kind. Another keeper that needs tweaking.

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