And so the summer's gone ... Toasting with Mint and Watermelon
Posted Nov 13 2009 10:01pm
Dark moody clouds now overwhelm the skies, threatening to spill over. Monsoon's actually been delayed for about a month or so on account of cyclonic activities during the summer but no matter, the clouds are here. There's something impending about the atmosphere around this time, making one restless and irritable and prone to headaches. The only relief possible during this time can only be a good ol' downpour. The smell of the first rains hitting the parched ground is something special and heavenly.
Unlike the rather uniform temperatures and heavy humidity in my old hometown, seasons in my current place of residence are rather well demarcated - the chilly foggy winter months followed by the cooler springtime in February and March, then the dry unbearable heat of summer followed by the three months or so of wet monsoon season.
Summer in India is full of color. Witness all the seasonal fruits around this time: sunny yellows of mangoes, especially with the blushing pink skin of the Alphonso variety famous here, the gentle orange of musk melons, the brilliant pink of watermelons, refreshing greens of herbs.
The harsh summer sunrays somehow highlight the scintillating beauty of colors.
The best thing about seasonal produce is the anticipation the year round before you get to gorge on your favorites when the season finally comes around. But eventually a sort of fatigue sets in when you can eat no more. Leftovers become more and more prominent in the refrigerator and one is at one's wit's end on how to get the family to eat it up.
I was in a similar position sometime ago. We gorged on a couple of watermelons, but how much of it can one eat? Chunks of pink melon pieces got lost somewhere in the refrigerator wilting and shedding water, and I urgently needed to do something about it. I then remembered a soup recipe I had tried out couple of years ago, when in a similar predicament. This recipe was more of an experiment then, which I soon modified to suit our tastes.So this recipe is to celebrate the summer days that've gone by.
I had about two tall cups of watermelon pieces that had been deseeded already, so I used that. I pureed this and placed the watery juice in a pot, setting it to boil.
To this I added salt and pepper, and about half a cup of finely chopped mint leaves. I feel mint is an absolute necessity here as it adds to the taste of the watermelon considerably. Once this boiled a bit, I set it aside. I've noticed that the color of the soup actually deepens with cooking.
If the soup seems too sweet, squeeze some lime juice till the flavors blend. Water can be added too to adjust consistency. We've had this hot, but chilling it a bit in the freezer can also be a great way to have it.