Chewing: A Necessary Part of the Digestion Process?

Well, sorry folks. The Summertime series got put on temporary hiatus while I prepped for and am now recovering from oral surgery. That’s right, my wisdom teeth are no more. While the elusive mission call is still (annoyingly) not  in my hands, I have happened upon something else.

Good food doesn’t have to be solid.

I, like so many other normal, functioning human beings always considered soup synonymous with Fall. Y’know… leaves change color, temperature drops, cute jackets and scarves appear, and hands wrap around a warm bowl of… well, you get the picture. Unfortunately, I left my surgeon’s office with strict instructions and ran straight into a wall of 93 degree heat and humidity. Really!? Soup?! The thought was less appetizing than surgery in the first place.

Scouring the internet, I was pleasantly reminded of a few facts: soup is not always served hot, puréed fruits totally count, and a blender is NOT considered “heavy machinery.” So here are some recipes that’ve been keeping me alive this week:

Green curry is my favorite thing in the whole world (thanks to a couple excellent Thai restaurants in Provo and a particularly cute Home Teacher who served in Thailand). Minus the solid bits, it was quite the treat.

Strawberry Soup |

  • 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup ginger ale
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • sliced strawberries for garnish

Place sliced strawberries in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add ginger ale, sugar, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract; blend. Pour into mixing bowl and whisk in sour cream until smooth. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Garnish soup with sliced strawberries, if desired. Serve.

Gingered Carrot Soup |

  • 2 (7- to 8-oz) firm-ripe California avocados
  • 3 cups fresh carrot juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • Pinch of curry powder

Quarter avocados, then pit and peel.

Purée 1 avocado with carrot juice, salt, 4 teaspoons lime juice, and 2 teaspoons ginger in a blender until very smooth.Cut remaining avocado into 1/4-inch dice. Gently toss with remaining teaspoon lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, curry powder, and a pinch of salt. Serve soup garnished with seasoned avocado dice.

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::DISCLAIMER:: all images shamelessly pulled from Google Images. There is nothing photogenic about slurping soup with a numb mouth.



Summertime Series: A Virtual Four-Course Meal

Summer in Houston is hot.

And in a bad way.

By mid-March, the air feels so close you could touch it. A man’s heavily starched shirt collar wilts faster than a woman’s neatly coiffed hair-do. Muggy at best, unbearable the rest of the time Summer in Houston is the antithesis of its oft romanticized, idyllic portrait.  Streets are bare. Playgrounds are empty. Swimming pools are silent. The sound of A/C units churning echoes eerily throughout suburban neighborhoods.

But wait. Didn’t 2.6 million people show up for Rodeo Houston last month… a primarily outdoor event? That’s just about half the population of Houston. Two reasons for this, really: food & entertainment. But not just any food. World Championship Grillmeisters, armed with their best cuts and secret sauces. And not just any entertainment. Rodeo happens to be the State Sport of Texas (naturally) , and in a place where everything is bigger… what better venue than Reliant Arena for the Nation’s best riders to test their mettle? Add a star-studded list of  music superstars, and you end up with two expectations which must be met and (if possible) exceeded before any self-respecting Houstonian would brave the Summer swelter:

  1. Undeniably great food
  2. World-class entertainment

Miraculously, this blog post sprung from dirt I found myself sitting in, waiting for Tim McGraw to take the stage. If I were writing a noob’s guide to Houston, “things to do in Summertime” would really only have four subheadings. Nothing else is worth it, really.  Like peanut butter and chocolate, these pairings were meant to be and are always met with  unanimous approval when considered for forays into the outdoors:

  • Crawfish & Zydeco
  • Barbecue & Rodeo
  • Bratwursts & Baseball
  • Burgers & Beaches

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Houston happens to sit at the perfect crossroad of American, Creole, and Texas cultures required to sample each pairing. Over the next four days, we’ll go on a virtual tour of Summer festivals and sample a few classic recipes (fried ‘gator, anyone?).  Mostly to satiate my cravings for Summer to get here already (Spring is such a tease), but I hope it also serves as a guidepost if you ever find yourself stranded in Houston during the season affectionately known as “Hell.”