Soon we will be bidding summer a fond farewell. Some of us will be sending it off and not looking back, ready to be rid of the horrific heat waves that wafted over the country this year. I won’t be too sad to see summer go, not because I was miserable in the heat but because I adore autumn. Autumn is my very favorite season. I cannot wait for crisp, cool days and the crunching of amber, yellow and red leaves beneath my feet. I look forward to taking the girls trick-or-treating, another first for Molly among so many this past 10 months. I have my 35th birthday right around the corner (yikes!) while Molly will be having her 1st. Maddy will be right on our heels celebrating her 3rd a mere two weeks later. The heart of autumn holds so much excitement and so many things to look forward to for us. But we’re not there just yet. For now, we have a few more warm weeks.
With that thought in mind, Carrie and I decided this month we would send summer out with a cold soup for First on the First. There will be plenty of months to come with warm soups filling our bellies but the time for cool ones is quickly fading. I decided to take gazpacho for a fruity spin. In this version, watermelon is the star. This soup is cool and refreshing thanks to the watermelon and cucumber as well. On the other hand, it’s just a little bit spicy thanks to a little red Thai chile. This would have been perfect for the Fire on Ice challenge, huh? In fact, I think this soup could be frozen into popsicles and be a raging success. Note to self: Make that happen.
This soup also happens to be incredibly healthy! This is a huge plus in my book considering my endeavors to be a runner. I’ve been running for almost 6 weeks now and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Six weeks ago I had difficulty running longer than 2 minutes, I couldn’t even run a quarter mile straight without feeling like I truly was about to keel over and die right there on the pavement. Now, I am running on average about 2 1/2 a half miles every other day and running nearly all of it. I still have to take one or two breaks to walk for a few minutes but this is a vast improvement. A week ago, I was feeling a little discouraged until I really took a look at what I had already accomplished. That’s when I realized that I’m actually doing better than I’ve given myself credit for.
Today, I’m adding something to the mix and taking on a new challenge. I am going to embark upon a fitness journey that hopefully won’t kill me. I’m starting a CrossFit program today! This is one heck of a workout and I’m a little nervous. Just a few hours from now I’m going to work my tail off! I may not be able to walk afterward. I do think though that adding another fitness element to my routine will not only help tone up what three children have toned down but I also imagine that it can only make me stronger which will in turn, make me a better runner. So ready or not, here I go! Wish me luck!
Oh and on another note, I’m heartbroken that I will not be running a race a week from now. Madelyn is starting on her own journey next Saturday. She’s going to start taking a ballet class! I thought it was supposed to start today until I realized that this is a holiday weekend. So it begins next Saturday, just as I would be beginning my first 5K. I cannot miss her very first class. So as all the other Red Faced Runners participate in an organized 5K, I will vow to get up early and run the distance on my own that morning with them and still make it to my little girl’s very first dance class. So my new goal? I will run my first 5K race by the end of the month. September 30th to be exact! In fact, I’ve already signed up. So I have that to work towards and I will make it happen.
In the meantime, you should make this soup happen. As we say hello to September, it still feels a lot like August. This soup will refresh you on a warm evening and the burst of watermelon will remind you of what summer is all about. Let’s enjoy what’s left of it until we welcome the cooler months with open arms.
Want to join in next month? We’d love to have you! We’ll be making bread pudding, any kind you’d like so let your imagination run wild.
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Gazpacho gets a makeover with watermelon as the star makes for a cool, refreshing and slightly spicy summer soup.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn plus more for garnish
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 plum tomato
- 3 cups chilled seedless watermelon, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup chilled peeled cucumber, cut into 1" pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
- Kosher slat
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring 2 cups basil leaves, next 5 ingredients, and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Let the basil syrup cool completely.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Using the tip of a knife, make two shallow 1" cuts through the skin at the bottom of the tomato, forming an X. Blanch in water just until skin at X begins to lift, 30-40 seconds.
- Transfer to a small bowl of ice water; let cool until cold, about 5 minutes. Peel and halve the tomato. Scoop out and discard seeds.
- Puree reserved basil syrup, tomato, melon, cucumber, 1/4 lime juice, and chile in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and more lime juice, if desired.
- Divide the soup among bowls. Drizzle with a little olive oil; garnish with pepper and more basil leaves.
From Bon Appetit Magazine | August 2012