Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

Recipe: Watermelon Rum Punch

September 20, 2010

Stephanie Jane Carter

The blue, dented pick-up truck that parks in the shade of the oak trees on Carollton Avenue is the kind of vehicle that makes me smile.  With a hand-painted sign announcing its wares, watermelons filled the bed of the truck this week.  While the weather has started to give us a break, it is still hot in New Orleans and watermelons are still the answer for a couple more weeks.  Here is a cocktail to celebrate the end of summer.

photo by Stephanie Jane Carter

Watermelon Rum Punch

Makes one cocktail

1 cup red seedless watermelon, cubed

2 ounces white rum

1 tablespoon agave nectar

juice of 1 and a half limes (about 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon chopped mint

crushed ice

Chile Lime Salt (optional)

Combine the cubed watermelon, rum, agave nectar, and lime juice in a blender (or in a bowl if using an emmersion blender).  Puree until the mixture is smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer.  Set aside.  If desired, coat the lip of a glass with the chile lime salt by rubbing the lip with a damp towel and dipping the lip into the salt.  Fill the glass with ice.  Add watermelon mixture and chopped mint.  Stir well.

Recipe: Avocado Vichyssoise

August 6, 2010
Avocado Vichyssoise

Avocado Vichyssoise

by Stephanie Jane Carter

“But in summer, when the soup seemed to be too hot, we asked for milk for which to cool it.  Many years later, it was this inspiration to make the soup which I have named Creme Vichyssoise.” (Louis Diat 1885-1957)

When the French-born chef, Louis Diat, was the chef at the Ritz Carlton in New York, he remembered a pureed potato soup served to him by his mother in his hometown, a village near Vichy in France.  Served hot, he often asked for milk to cool the soup.  From this concept, Diat created one of our most well-known soups, cold and refreshing Vichyssoise.

In this version, we have added another item that says summer to us, the avocado.  We find the flavor refreshing and surprising and we hope you do too.

Avocado Vichyssoise

Serves 6

2 leeks, trimmed, washed, and thinly sliced*

1/8 cup unsalted butter

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

6 cups water

1 bouquet garni (2-3 sprigs parsley, 1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf)

Salt, to taste

3 medium avocados, peeled and pitted

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup Creme Fraiche

1/4 cup chopped chives

1.  Sweat the leeks in the butter and a pinch of salt.  Allow them to soften without developing color.

2.  Add the potatoes and the water and another sprinkling of salt.

3.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.

4.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

5.  Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup.

6.  Let soup chill thoroughly.

7.  Add the avocados to the soup and puree until smooth.

8.  Just before serving, add the lime juice and stir to incorporate.

9.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of chives.

*Normally, with a vichyssoise, one would only use the white parts of the leeks so that the soup could remain white.  However, this is not necessary in this version since the end product is green due to the addition of the avocados.