Watermelon and Chia Seeds Soup

Watermelon soup is a delicious, refreshing, and easy summer dish requiring very little time to prepare. It can appear on the table in no time. Equally satisfying either as an appetizer or as a dessert.  Here, paired with chia seeds to add texture, lime and ginger for a zing, and some fresh mint or lemon verbena for a variation of flavors. 

  Ingredients:

  • 4 lb / 1 kg 800 g watermelon flesh
  • 6 Tbsp/ 60 g chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 oz / 40 g fresh ginger
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 oz / 15 g fresh mint or lemon verbena

  Peel and slice the ginger root.   Cut both ends of the limes and stand it upright on a wood board for slicing off the peel. 
Slice the peel off all the way around, being sure to remove the rind.     Quarter each lime. 
  Remove mint (or lemon verbena) leaves from the stems and reserve the nicer looking ones for serving.   Place lime, ginger and mint (or lemon verbena) at the bottom of a standing blender bowl. 
  Cut the watermelon into large pieces and discard the rind.    Add the watermelon to the other ingredients in the blender and process until smooth, in batches if necessary. 
  Pour the watermelon soup into a bowl and add the chia seeds.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate.  Serve chilled with mint or lemon verbena. You might also extra chia seeds on top for the presentation.

Enjoy!

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Poached Pears with Citrus, Ginger and Cardamon

Refreshing and simple, a perfect way to end a meal on a light note, with the ginger contributing to help digestion.

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Poached pears are a classic, yet can be interpreted in so many different ways. Here the cardamon and ginger bring a refreshing twist. You might use ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick instead of the cardamon.

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Ingredients:
4 pears – either d’Anjou for softer texture or Bosc for firmer texture
1 orange
4 mandarins
1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
12 cardamon pods
2 cups water
1/2 cup agave syrup

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Prepping the ingredients. Wash the fruits. Cut the citrus into relatively thick slices. Peel and half the pears. Core the center to remove the hard part and seeds. Using a melon baller is a useful tool for this task. Set aside.

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Grating the ginger. I recently learned a tip for keeping fresh ginger on hand at all times in the kitchen: store it in the freezer and grate it frozen as needed.
When it comes to peeling or scraping ginger, this is a matter of personal preference. Once washed and scrubbed, you might peel it with a peeler or scrape it with a spoon in its intricate shapes. Although, I have to admit that since seeing my friends from Japan leaving the skin on the root, I have been doing the same.

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Place the water, agave syrup, cut citrus, grated ginger, cardamon in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to infuse all the flavors of the poaching liquid.

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Add the pears and return to a boil. Lower the heat again and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the pears are soft. Depending on whether the pears were hard initially, this might take a little longer. Just check with the tip of a sharp knife. You should not feel any resistance when the blade cuts through the pear.

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Once the pears are ready, turn off the heat and let cool. When the pot reaches room temperature, transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. This dish is best eaten cold.

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Serve by itself in its own juice, or accompanied by ginger cookies, ‘Pain d’Epice’, or a chocolate ganache. Enjoy!