I used to test kitchen appliances and write about them for various magazines, so I learned a lot about what to look for and about the best uses for the tools we buy for our kitchens. Also some history as to why or how they got invented.
Like the Blender. We take it for granted these days, but it was the first real “modern” kitchen tool. It began as barware back in the 1930s, designed to blend the likes of cocktails like Daiquiris and Brandy Alexanders.
But in the 1950s, when the real housewives of America got hold of it, they quickly understood how useful it could be in the kitchen.
Women’s lib. At least when it came to chopping, blending and pureeing ingredients.
Among the first “blender recipes” were cold soups. It was so easy — put cut up soft fruit or vegetables in a blender, add liquid and seasonings and puree away.
The process isn’t much different today, except now we have immersion blenders and food processors also.
What is different now is that we now have a zillion more ingredients that women back in the 50s probably never heard of or would think to use because they were unavailable or outside their cultural comfort zone. Like yogurt. Mango. Avocado. Chili peppers. Ingredients that are now as commonplace as apples and milk and packaged bread.
I recently had a few too many mangoes so I decided to get out my trusty old blender and give it a whirl for cold fruit soup. It was as reliable as ever. The soup took just a few minutes to prepare and it was incredibly refreshing.
It’s a perfect dish on a hot, hot, humid day.
If you make this soup in advance and store it in the fridge, take it out about a half hour before you serve it. Fruit soups are best when chilled but not utterly cold.
Mango Soup with Mint and Chili Pepper
2 large mangoes, about 2 pounds
1 cup milk, approximately
1 cup plain Greek style yogurt
1 small Serrano pepper, about 1 teaspoon finely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
juice of half a lime
salt to taste
gratings of nutmeg
Peel the mango and cut the flesh into chunks. Place the mango, milk, yogurt, Serrano pepper, honey, mint and lime juice in a food processor or blender (or use a deep vessel and hand blender) and puree the ingredients. Season to taste with salt. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Garnish with a few sprinkles of freshly grated nutmeg and mint sprigs. If the soup seems too thick, stir in enough milk to achieve the desired consistency. Makes 4 servings