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Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier - Fine Chocolates Made by Hand

608-249-3500 | Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 11-3, Sun CLOSED

Summer is in full swing and that means plenty of great fresh veggies and fruits!

I am so happy to share some of my favorite summer recipes with you. I especially love Chilled Watermelon-Mint Soup. I’m pretty sure it will rock your world. Serve it in a half-watermelon shell at your next outdoor party and wow your guests. It has worked for me several times.


Chilled Watermelon-Mint Soup ( serves 8 )

12 c. seeded watermelon, chopped into 1-inch pieces (~7 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 c. Johannisberg Riesling wine
1/3 c. sugar
2 c. fresh mint leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. watermelon cubes for garnish
1/2 c. crème fraiche
Fresh mint sprigs

Puree the watermelon, working in batches, in a food processor until smooth. Strain puree into a large bowl. Transfer one cup of puree into small bowl. Cover and chill. Whisk cornstarch into remaining puree. Bring wine and 1/3 cup sugar to simmer in large pot, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer three minutes. Add watermelon cornstarch mixture; whisk while bringing to boil. Transfer soup to a bowl and stir in two cups of mint. Cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally, for about one hour.

Strain soup into another bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the strained mint. Stir in salt and cayenne. Add more sugar if desired. Chill until cold, at least 4 hours or up to one day.

Whisk reserved cup of watermelon puree into soup. Ladle soup into bowls. Mound two tablespoons of cubed watermelon in center of each bowl. Drizzle soup with crème fraiche. Garnish with mint sprigs.


Fresh Pesto

Olive oil
Walnuts or toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Freshly grated Parmesan
Coarse sea salt

Start with big handfuls of fresh basil.

With this recipe, the amounts vary depending on your equipment. If you have a food processor or a small food chopper with an immersion blender attachment, fill the bowl halfway with torn basil leaves. Chop the basil, then drizzle in olive oil and some chopped garlic to taste. Zip it again until blended.

Then, depending on your taste and budget, add walnuts or toasted pine nuts to taste. This amount can vary, but I use a good handful. Process again until blended.

Now add one tablespoon of lemon juice and some finely grated Parmesan cheese. Zip, take a look and taste, and if it is dry drizzle in more olive oil. If you like salt, add some coarse sea salt. Zip and taste it, and add more of what ever suits you.

When you have achieved the blend you like, toss over fresh-cooked pasta or store in small freezer bags for a great treat during the cold time of the year. Pull the bag out to thaw in the fridge or in a water bath if you’re in a hurry. Use the same as you would fresh pesto –over pasta, on toasted pita chips, pizza or your own creations.


Very Easy Cucumber Salad

1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar
2-3 sliced cucumbers
1 red onion, sliced thinly
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt
1 Tbsp. fresh, chopped dill (optional)

This is something my mother would put together after we came in from the garden with our bounty.

Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar into 1/2 cup vinegar. Add two or three sliced cucumbers and one thinly sliced fresh red onion. I like lots of freshly ground black pepper and some sea salt. A tablespoon of fresh, chopped dill is a great addition, too.

Chill in the fridge for a few hours. Make a bigger batch and enjoy for a few days. The cucumbers will get really crisp and crunchy as they chill.