Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Fruit Soup and "No Calorie" Chips

Refreshing Summer Fruit
Soup...and fresh mint from
the garden!!
Things are always a little crazy around here, but this week was like running on a treadmill at maximum speed!  Baruch Hashem, it was all good – but it was a fairly insane week!!

The week started on Sunday when my husband Alan and I went on a 7 AM flight to New York for the wedding of our dear relative and her Choson.  We left the kids with cans of Soda and the TV remote and said “Bye kids, see you in two days!”  Just kidding…my big boys were great “supervisors” and “chauffeurs”, and the girls were in very good hands.  My husband and I had an amazing opportunity to visit with some of our favorite East Coast relatives, and dance holes in our shoes at the wedding…so fun!  We also had the extremely rare opportunity to have some time to go out without the kids!!!  It turns out that near my sister’s house in New Rochelle, there is a historical area with “period” tours.  We ended up going to the estate of the author Washington Irving, who wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”, and got a tour by a woman wearing the same style of clothing they wore in the early 1800’s.  It was so interesting.  After the tour we had a grand time taking pictures with my camera’s self timer.  I had never used it before and my husband thought it was hysterically funny to watch me racing to get into the picture before the self timer went off!

How far did I actually have
to run?!!
We got back late Monday night, and Tuesday was spent making a Wedding Cake (yes, a Wedding Cake!), and then off to my nephew’s graduation.  Wednesday…more Wedding Cake, getting my daughter ready to go to sleep away camp, then The Wedding (where they ate the cake – hooray!).  Thursday was spent getting ready for the Sheva Brachot that we were having here for the Wedding Cake couple, and taking my daughter to get her hair cut for the very first time after 11 years!  She is donating her hair to the children’s cancer support center in Israel – Zichron Menachem.  We are so proud! 

After hair cuts, the girls and I went to the mega fruit store to get fruits and vegetables for Shabbat and the Sheva Brachot we were hosting on Shabbat.  While walking through the aisles we came across some beautiful looking parsnips.  Huh? Really? Parsnips?!  A little while back I really wanted to eat something sweet and crunchy, but there was nothing around that would suit.  So I ended up sad and hungry L (but I somehow survived).  It got me thinking about what type of snack I could make that would be really good for me to eat but not high in calories, carbs, or fat.  I came up with the idea of making chips out of sweet parsnips, and sprinkling them with a little cinnamon and Splenda.  When I came across those pretty parsnips in the store I was very excited to try out my idea of NO CALORIE CHIPS

THE Wedding Cake!!
Things were so crazy during the week that I actually enlisted the help of the family troops to put the groceries away, including the chicken for Shabbat, into the extra fridge downstairs.  So, after my particularly hectic day, my husband asked me exactly what things I was supposed to make for the Sheva Brachot (That was around 1 AM...I didn’t get to bed until after 4:30 AM!) .  Our friend Cheryl had made up an extremely clear and efficient chart about what tasks everyone was supposed to be doing.  The problem was that I had had such an insane week I hadn’t opened up the file…oops!  It turned out that in addition to the grilled vegetables, cookies, and desserts I knew I was supposed to make I was also supposed to make fruit soup for the appetizer!!  Whew, thanks for taking care of me my dear husband…we avoided a near disaster!  Luckily, I had a LOT of fruit in the house (we had just been to the mega fruit store) and was able to pick up a watermelon also.  What could be better and more refreshing (and easy to make) than SUMMER FRUIT SOUP?!!  It’s a great summer soup because all the melons are in season, it’s easy to make, and on a hot summer day you don’t have to heat up the house cooking soup on the stovetop.  What I especially like about this soup is that there isn’t a specific recipe for it.  You basically take your favorite fruits or melons and pulverize them in the food processor.  What makes this non-recipe unique though, is that no matter what type of fruits or melons go into the soup – you always add some tangy lime juice, refreshing lemon juice, and instead of sugar…a packet of either raspberry or strawberry jello (which helps to thicken the soup slightly as well).  Garnished with whipped cream and fresh mint from the garden it’s a refreshing start to a meal on a hot day.

With time quickly passing, the vegetables grilled, fruit soup made and Shabbat side dishes completed, the time to put the chicken on the grill was imminent.  I sent one of my minions to the basement to bring up the chicken.  That’s when we discovered that the day before my kids were so concerned about making sure that they put the chicken away correctly that they had put it directly in the refrigerator…freezer!!  All the chicken was frozen solid as a brick!  Dear husband started running warm water over it to expedite the defrosting process, and the helpful (and slightly remorseful) children took over the barbecuing process (while Mom – me – conveniently left the scene to go shower and get ready for Shabbat).  You know what?  It was some of the moistest and best tasting chicken I ever had!

TGIS (Thank G-d it’s Shabbat)!!!  I have to tell you I was incredibly thankful for Shabbat this week, and the peace that it brought!!  Sheva Brachot were beautiful and all the food was a great hit!  This week brought crazy to a whole new level…we always say – It’s never dull in the Matten house!!  Looking forward to a whole new incredible week I”H (and some sleep!!)!

3          whole               parsnips, peeled
2          teaspoons         cinnamon
1          tablespoon        Splenda
                                    non-stick vegetable spray

Preheat the oven to 400° F, convection setting.  Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick vegetable spray.  

Using a mandoline, thinly slice the parsnips.       Spread the parsnips on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and Splenda.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and toss the parsnips.  Bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and toss again.  Continue to bake for additional 5 minute intervals until the parsnips are crisp and dried.   Remove from the oven and cool.  Snack to your hearts content.

                        melons of your choice such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew cut
                                    peeled and cut into cubes
                        fruits of your choice such as strawberries, blueberries, or peaches
                                    peeled if necessary
                        lime juice to taste
                        lemon juice to taste
1-2                   envelopes strawberry or raspberry flavored jello
                        heavy whipping cream
                        fresh mint leaves for garnish

Working in batches, place the fruit in the bowl of a large food processor.  Pulse to process the fruit and melon, and then remove to a large bowl.  Add the jello to the last batch of processed fruit, then combine with the rest of the ground fruit in the large bowl.  Add lemon and lime juice to taste.  Chill for at least one hour.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Spoon soup into cups or small bowls.  Garnish with cream and mint leaves.  Serve to happy guests.

It all starts with a parsnip...
Slice really thin with one of
my all time favorite gadgets:
the mandolin!
Place on the cookie sheet, sprinkle
with cinnamon and sugar then bake!
Keep tossing until crisp...YUM!
Make a lot...can't stop eating 'em!

All the fruit you have in the house,
plus lemon and lime juices...
don't forget the jello!
and garden fresh mint for garnish!
Lots of different fruits...
grind them up in batches!
Last batch...add the jello...
there's always room for jello!!
Add the lemon juice and lime juice
to taste...leave some for the guests!
That's a lot of refreshing soup...
and SO easy to make!!

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These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

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