At long last, local asparagus have landed at our farmers market. Yippee doo dah! When it comes to asparagus, I'm a huge fan, and I'm also a bit of a snob. I buy in season, eat as much as I can every which way, and then -- a brief six weeks later when the growing season ends -- I give up asparagus for the rest of the year. When I saw this unusual recipe from A Veggie Venture that combines asparagus with orange, I had to share it with you. Alanna recommends you make this chilled asparagus orange soup ahead, and let it sit for at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to mellow together. I hope you'll try it.
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Each year, I grow a few more herbs and vegetables in my garden, and what I don't grow myself, I get in abundance from generous friends with greener thumbs than mine. Whenever I receive a gift of vegetables, I like to return some of what I make to the gift giver. Tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro spell one of two things: salsa, or soup. Apron Strings' garden gazpacho in a jar, packed with instructions to the recipient to blend the contents into a fast, fresh soup, couldn't be more perfect, as I get to combine what I receive with what I harvest from my own garden. Pop the entire jar into the refrigerator for a few hours, then blend, taste for seasoning, and serve very cold.
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For most of my life, I didn't love fennel, but my sister-in-law Jill showed me the error of my ways, by introducing me to her favorite shaved fennel and parmesan cheese salad with vinaigrette. Next came an experiment with a Barefoot Contessa recipe for roasted fennel. Now, I'm hooked. Cooking brings out the natural sweetness in the fennel. This chilled fennel soup with buttered walnuts, from Framed Cooks, would make an elegant first course for a dinner party, or a refreshing summer lunch with a slice of crusty bread.
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