By Cheryl Simone

To celebrate the start of summer, try these delicious soups.

Cantaloupe Soup

4 cantaloupe melon, de-seeded and peeled
1 honeydew melon, de-seeded and peeled
1 pineaple, trimmed of outside skin, eyes, and leaves, discard core
½ gallon orange juice
1 jalapeno, de-seeded (optional)
4 ounces fresh ginger, (about 4 inch piece) peeled, cut pieces
Garnish: cantaloupe and honeydew melon balls
Crème fraiche or sour cream (optional)

1. Clean melons and ginger of outer skin. Using melon baller, scoop smallish balls from flesh of one of each melons. Reserve.
2. Cut remaining melons flesh in largish chunks. Cut ginger in ½ inch pieces.
3. Pour orange juice in large soup kettle. Add ginger, jalapeno and melon chunks. Bring just to sign of first boil. Remove from heat. Allow fruit to steep in orange juice until room temperature.
4. Puree mixture in food processor or good blender (i.e, Vitamix)
4. Strain pulp. A chinoise or china cap makes this easy; but any strainer over a large bowl will work. Press solids to extract as much liquid as possible
5. Label, date and refrigerate.
6. Service: spoon into bowls. Place melon balls and blueberries in bowl. Sour cream/crème fraiche is optional garnish; squiggle on top of soup before placing melon balls and blueberries.

Yellow Pepper Gazpacho

6 yellow, red or orange bell peppers
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 yellow, orange or red beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
1 bulb fennel
¼ cup mirin or sweet wine (sherry or vermouth works)
¼ cup yuzu or lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T rice wine or champagne vinegar
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup water

Garnish: Cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters (Sun gold tomatoes preferred)
English cucumber, unpeeled, very small dice
Small cherry peppers, thin sliced
Cilantro, finely chopped
Rice wine vinegar
Parsley, finely chopped and dried
Chives, cut very small pieces

1. Oil one half peppers (3) and blister on grill, open flame or under broiler. Seal in bowl with plastic wrap. When cool, remove charred skin, seeds and internal membranes. Chop in largish pieces.
2. Chop remaining peppers, fennel, onions, garlic, cucumbers and tomatoes
3. Mix with sweet wine, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar and cilantro and allow to marinate. About an hour or overnight.
3. Process in food processor or good blender (i.e., Vitamix) until smooth, adding water if needed.
4. Strain mixture over large bowl, or use chinoise or china cap to strain. Press on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
5. Label, date and refrigerate
6. Garnish: Prepare garnish as noted: mix a splash of rice wine vinegar and cilantro with diced cucumbers – let stand 15 minutes, cut cherry tomatoes, cut peppers in rings, discarding seeds and membranes. Put garnish in bowl. Pour soup over the top.
7. Place cut chives on top

Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.

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