Refreshing taste of summer
Outside Oslo’s Daytona Strong celebrates the season with a fresh blueberry soup scented with cardamom
The start of summer is so close I can almost smell it—the verdant scent of freshly-cut grass lingering in the air and the scent of salt water wafting up from Puget Sound. Here in Seattle—as I suspect in Norway—summer is as much about the intangible experiences as the concrete signs of the season. Summer in the Pacific Northwest is defined not just by the elevated temperatures and longer days, but also by the experiences that one has accumulated in the years of living here: feeling the wind comb through one’s hair while boating on Seattle’s Lake Union on the Fourth of July, smelling the briquettes smolder before dinner while camping in the Blue Mountains outside Walla Walla, stopping to pick fresh berries by the side of the road while out on a run on a hot afternoon.
Some of my favorite summer memories go way back to my childhood, to sunlit days picking berries in my grandparents’ backyard. I would walk the rows of raspberry bushes with a pail, picking raspberries and of course eating some as I went (what kid couldn’t resist dipping into the pail and tasting those sun-ripened morsels?). Afterward I’d sit in my grandparents’ kitchen and eat a bowlful of fresh raspberries dressed with sugar and milk, and perhaps a little cream. It was such a simple treat—one that could beat the most elegantly concocted desserts I can imagine. For me, the memory of that fresh, sunburst taste is the epitome of summer.
If there are two things that Seattle and Norway have in common, they are a yearning for long summer days and a love of fresh summer produce, in this case berries. In celebration of both, I offer you this chilled blueberry soup. Sweetened with just a touch of sugar and scented with cardamom, it’s just the thing to refresh you on a hot summer day.
18 ounces blueberries
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine blueberries, 2 cups water, sugar, and cardamom in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, continuing to stir and using the back of the spoon to slightly crush the berries. Mix potato starch and remaining tablespoon of water in a small bowl, then add to blueberries. Return blueberries to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Chill and serve.
Variation: If you’re in the mood for ice cream, this soup makes a delicious blueberry sauce. Simply reduce the soup slightly and allow to cool a little, then pour over vanilla ice cream.
Daytona Strong is the voice behind Outside Oslo, a blog exploring her Scandinavian heritage and love of good food. She is the newest contributor to the Norwegian American Weekly. Check it out at outsideoslo.wordpress.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 15, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.