It's strawberry season around here. They are cheap. They are local. There are a million different ways to use them. I happened to have been invited to a recipe swap with the theme of "fruit" and that was my perfect excuse to make a cold fruit soup.Now you might be wondering, but, Katy, what is the difference between a smoothie and a cold fruit soup? Good question, haha! Honestly, ingredient-wise, not a whole lot. There's no water or ice, which might be a bit different.
I think, though, it's all about the deliberateness of eating a soup, slowly sorting out the flavors that are mingling on your tongue, rather than just gulping something down, that makes it different. Plus, it sounds a lot more exotic and fancy to tell the kids we're having strawberry soup ;)
There's no hard and fast ingredient list, but I will tell you what we like in ours.
2 pints strawberries, hulled
1/2 c orange juice, preferably not from concentrate
1/2 c cream OR plain yogurt
1/8 c sugar OR honey to taste
1/8-1/4 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
Blend and serve chilled. Optional but delicious garnish: crème fraîche or plain yogurt, squeezed from a zip-lock bag with the tip snipped off.
Now, if you take a peek in your spice cupboard and notice you don't have cardamom, it's time to invest in some, because trying to replace it with something else won't give you the same flavor. Cinnamon might be okay, and ginger would be a more appropriate substitute, but cardamom has a unique flavor.
You can certainly buy it pre-ground, but this is what they look like in the pods. (Any Indian grocery store would have these, and you might find them at a natural food store as well.) Toast them slightly in a pan over low heat and you'll begin to smell what will soon be flavoring your soup.
To release the seeds, crush them with a mortar and pestle. Mine were hopping all over the place, so I would do just a few at a time.
Separate the pod from the seeds.I put mine in my long Asian wire spoon and that was the perfect size to let the seeds slip through without too much of the pod, but a colander with largish holes should work fine, too.
Lastly you'll need a spice grinder, or a small coffee grinder (mine came from IKEA for just a couple of dollars). If you try to use your mortar and pestle you won't get a great result--those little seeds are hard!
You can always add more or less sugar, depending on your preference as well as the sweetness of your berries and add more or less dairy, also dependent on your preference for a more creamy flavor and texture. When do you eat it? You could serve it as a dessert or appetizer or pallet cleanser.
Personally, I sneak it anytime I can!