The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook: 125 Homegrown Recipes from the Hills of New England
“Allow the serendipity of the garden’s harvest to decide your menu.” Michael Ballon, farm to table pioneer and friend of the Bildners
The taste of summer is a celebration of fresh produce at our local farmers markets. Elisa Spungen Bildner and Rob Buildner recently wrote The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook: 125 Homegrown Recipes from the Hills of New England. Join Margaret McSweeney and Jaime Laurita for a Kitchen Chat with the Bildners about the farm to table culture in the rolling New England Hills. The Berkshires are a cultural mecca and food hub thriving with small farms and specialty food. Elisa and Rob’s cookbook shares and celebrates these homegrown secrets.
The Bildners’ Farmers Market Tips:
- Go to a farmers market and go with no preconception. Listen to what speaks to you.
- Try things that haven’t spoken to you yet.
- Try the simplest ingredient and do something extraordinary with it.
Try this delicious recipe for Chilled Melon and Mint Soup. Excerpted from The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook. Copyright 2020 by
Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press.
All rights reserved.
Chilled Melon and Mint Soup
This refreshing cold soup is an elegant starter course or a healthy dessert on a summer evening.
Zesting citrus, like the lime and oranges in this recipe, is a great way to add flavor. It’s
important, though, to zest only the colored surface of the fruit’s skin, not the white pith, which
can be bitter. This recipe lends itself especially well to being doubled (and to experimenting
with different varieties of melons).
1 large lime
2 large oranges
½ large honeydew melon (2 to 2½ pounds), seeded, peeled, and 1- inch diced
3 tablespoons loosely packed fresh mint leaves
½ large cantaloupe melon (1½ to 2 pounds), seeded, peeled, and 1- inch diced
Mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Place four soup bowls in the refrigerator to chill.
- Zest the lime until you have ½ teaspoon of zest and set aside. Zest one orange until you have
½ teaspoon of zest and set aside. Juice the lime and oranges until there is 1 tablespoon of lime
juice and ½ cup of orange juice. Mix the juices together in a measuring cup with a lip for easy
pouring and set aside.
- Working in batches if necessary, puree the honeydew cubes and mint leaves in a blender
until smooth and the tiny pieces of mint are as fine as possible. Pour half of the juice mixture
into the puree and blend again to mix well. Transfer to a glass jar or covered dish and chill in
the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- While the honeydew puree chills, rinse the blender with cold water. Working in batches if
necessary, puree the cantaloupe cubes until smooth. Pour the remaining juice mixture into the
cantaloupe puree and blend again to mix well. Transfer the cantaloupe puree to a glass jar or
covered dish and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Remove the chilled soup bowls from the refrigerator and line them up on a work surface.
Pour ¾ cup of the honeydew puree into the bottom of each bowl. Gently, to avoid splashing,
pour ¾ cup of the cantaloupe puree down the side of each of the serving bowls, so that the two
colors of soup are separate and each takes up half of the serving bowl. Sprinkle a pinch or two
of the orange zest on the green honeydew soup side, and a pinch or two of the lime zest on the
cantaloupe soup side, and serve. If desired, garnish with mint sprigs.
What inspires you at your local Farmers’ Market?
Savor the day!