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I’m a Michigan girl, born and raised (er, actually I was born in Texas but we moved back to Michigan when I was 14 months old so I don’t really count that). If you’re familiar with Michiganders at all, you know that we refer to any weekend retreat as “up north”, whether it’s north of us or not. One of my favorite places to go “up north” growing up was to Mackinac (pronounced MACK-in-AW) Island.
Mackinac Island (which actually is, in fact, north from where I live) is a beautiful and unique little gem of an island. There are no cars allowed on the island, so everywhere you go the tree-lined streets are filled with bikes, horses, and horse-drawn carriages. There are beautiful historic homes, the BEST fudge anywhere, and there’s a wonderful old hotel called The Grand Hotel.
When I was 14 years old, I attended a wedding that was held there (one of many lovely weddings I’ve attended at The Grand Hotel- it’s the place to go!), and one thing I remember vividly about that wedding was a delicious chilled soup. I remember this particular soup because it was my first experience with a chilled soup. It was a light, crisp and refreshing chilled cucumber soup. It had dill and mint and it was served out of a carved out cucumber cup with a dollop of creme fraiche on top. So tasty and absolutely perfect for a hot summer day.
Since that first fling with a chilled cucumber soup, I’ve taken every opportunity I’ve had to partake in a chilled soup. My next experience was with gazpacho – a chilled tomato based soup! Again, blown away. Then somewhere along the line, I began my #lifefromscratch, and I wanted to create my own version of a chilled soup. And since I’m not really one to color inside the lines, why not stray from the savory side of things, and go with a sweet chilled soup?
And there in my little kitchen, Chilled Mixed Berry Soup was born.
Since I initially created this recipe some time ago, it has morphed a bit, and continues to evolve depending on the season, what produce is fresh and available at the time, and what kind of mood I’m in. Right now, we’re headed into summertime, so here in Michigan strawberries and raspberries are the freshest and sweetest berries I can find.
I’m also not eating dairy right now, so although I originally made this soup with a cream base (and oh man, is it rich!), this particular recipe calls for coconut milk and coconut cream. It adds a completely new twist to the dish!
That also brings me to one of my absolute favorite aspects of #lifefromscratch. When you’re in the comfort of your own kitchen, you are the boss! When you create your own food from scratch, you can totally customize it to suit your needs! I always encourage you to deviate from my recipe and make it your own.
If you don’t like ginger, as this soup calls for, leave it out! If you despise basil (not sure how that’s possible), swap it out for tarragon. Hate raspberries? Go with blackberries. I’ll never know!
The idea here is that you learn a method, and then go into your kitchen and experiment to make it work for you and your family. And I assert that that is true for most recipes. Honestly, I rarely, if ever, follow an exact recipe. I observe the cooking method and some of the ingredients. I let it inspire me and then I go off in my own direction. That’s what I love about #lifefromscratch. You can be as creative as you care to be!
There are so many things that I love about this soup. Chilled Mixed Berry Soup is rich and creamy, a little sweet and a tad savory, super simple and refreshing. You can serve it for brunch, or as an appetizer to a light summer meal. You could even pack it in a jar and take it with you for a picnic in the park. It’s definitely a versatile dish. And the best part is that there’s no cooking involved so it’s really quick to prepare. Ready for the recipe?
- 2 c coconut milk. I make my own coconut milk because it's really easy and more cost effective. If you buy your coconut milk, make sure you use a brand that doesn't line their cans with BPA. Use both the cream and the milk!
- ½ lb fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1 pt fresh raspberries, washed
- 1-3 T raw honey, depending on how sweet your fruit is
- 1 t fresh ginger, grated
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint, plus a bit for garnish
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, plus a bit for garnish
- Pinch of sea salt
- Place all of your ingredients in a high speed blender. Mix under desired consistency is obtained. I like mine smooth, but I still like to see little flecks of mint and basil in it.
- If you like yours super smooth, you can pass it through a fine mesh sieve.
- Taste and adjust for sweetness.
- Cover the soup and pop it in the fridge to chill, at least one hour.
- Garnish with remaining herbs and enjoy!