8.27.2016

Celebrations!

Longtime readers may note that Markipedia and I celebrate thousands - nay, millions - of anniversaries each year.

Okay, I exaggerate... we only celebrate 365 special occasions each year. Every once in a while, we push the envelope and celebrate 366. Every four years or so...

My living room in Delmar (Albany).
The first time Mark visited my home in Delmar (Albany), New York, he was living in Coastal New Hampshire. I wanted to make him a very special meal and serve it in my school bus-yellow dining room.

The meal opened with one of the most gorgeous soups in the world - a chilled plum soup. It’s deep, rich pink looked stunning in that room. The main course was a chilled salad of lobster, corn, and basil. Dusk settled and, by the time I brought the chocolate pots-de-crème to the table, we were dining by candlelight.

My wonderful kitchen; I hand-painted the tiles and knobs.
The origin of that luscious plum soup is Bon Appétit magazine, a recipe I clipped and saved more than 25 years ago. I make this soup only for very special occasions. It can be served both as a first course and a dessert.

I try to remember that every day is a special occasion, and should be celebrated as such. Whether it is a particular meal, a walk on the beach (or in the desert), or just sitting quietly in the garden, I take note of the specialness and hold it dear.

Most recently, I made this soup as the dessert to a meal celebrating the birthday of my good friend Patricia. It was a double celebration day, as we also toasted her anniversary with her husband, Philip. Philip is my cookbook benefactor; you have seen the fruits of his generosity often on this blog.

And, of course, this meal celebrated one of Mark's and my special days together - doing what we love best: sharing a meal with friends.

~ David

Chilled Plum Soup
adapted from Bon Appétit

1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 cup white wine, dry or sweet
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground ginger
1 pound Italian plums, chopped (about 1½ cups)*
1/8 cup sugar, or more if plums are tart
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
lemon slices and mint sprigs, for garnish

Bring juice, wine, and spices to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.  Add plums and boil until very soft – about 15 minutes. You will be surprised at how much color is released by the skins as the plums cook. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a non-metallic bowl and discard solids.  Stir in sugar immediately and allow to cool completely.

Blend in cream and lemon juice.  Refrigerate until well chilled, then serve in chilled bowls.  Garnish with a thin slice of lemon and a sprig of mint, if desired.

Serves 4 – can be doubled

* Different plums give different colors. The Italian "prune plums" make a more subdued pink, but have great flavor. Purple plums give a more hot pink color. 




28 comments:

  1. Not only does this sound incredibly delicious, but the top image is jaw dropping. When I saw it earlier today on FB, I nearly gasped! It could be the cover of Saveur! And I love having so many celebrations. We should all celebrate something each day! Love!

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    1. Wow, thank you so much Valentina! It is a beautiful soul and definitely made for a great shot!

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  2. Fabulous recipe! I love it! The color is amazing!

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    1. Cindy - the good news is that it also tastes really good!

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  3. A lovely post and gorgeous looking and sounding soup. Yum! Definitely gonna try it this summer.

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    1. It is a perfect summer soup, Ngeun! Thanks!

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  4. Wow! What a wonderful idea, David, to celebrate each and every day. I like to believe that my dear hubby and I do that, too. We recently arranged yet another sitting area out in the way back, as we call it, which gets the (not so early now) morning sun as it comes up over the mountain to the East. We sit there with our coffee, watch the deer, our chickens, and those darn magpies and give thanks for the privilege of living where we do, in the Colorado Rocky mountains. As time goes by we try to love each day and now, as first time grandparents, we just hope to see him grow up and have many wonderful times with us, his adoring grandparents. Your post today made me tear up a little bit. Thanks!
    Oh, I'll talk about your soup now. We are still waiting for the Italian plums to ripen. Things take so long at this altitude. When they are at last ripe I'll be making this gorgeous soup!

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    1. I love the "way back" - that is so wonderfully romantic way to celebrate each day, Caterina! I can't wait for you to try the soup!

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  5. I finally made here to read this post after seeing that gorgeous picture on IG! I love how you've written about celebrating each day as a special occasion, I feel the same way. I really believe each day is a blessing and I say a prayer of thanks every single night. What a beautiful summer recipe, David!

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    1. Thanks, Marcelle. We are so fortunate, aren't we?

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  6. Such an elegant soup, David, and that colour is phenomenal. Now, would I prefer it as dessert or as a starter? Only one way to find out!

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    1. Thanks, John - you can only imagine it in that yellow dining room, right.

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  7. Gorgeous and tasty looking as always! I love that color! Forgive me if we already made this connection... did we talk about our Delmar connection? My aunt has lived in that area for years. While she lives in Glenmont now I always associate her with living in Delmar. I did a post very early in Riegl Palate's history about going to the Delmar Farmers Market - http://www.rieglpalate.com/visit-to-the-delmar-farmers-market/ I hope you're feeling better.

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    1. Nicole, I cannot believe the Delmar connection. If we have discussed it before, I had also forgotten. I loved living there, and the Four Corners Luncheonette was always a fav. Nice to know the farmers market is thriving - it was teeny tiny when I left there in 1995!

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  8. Such a lovely color! I bet this soup is delicious. Sounds like you created a wonderful, thoughtful meal for Mark and I love that you painted a room school bus yellow.

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    1. Thanks, Cheri - and the color is indicative of the flavor! I loved that yellow room. Before it was schoolbus yellow, though, it was cream of tomato soup!

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  9. Fantastic photo, wonderful color, perfect ending to a meal.

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  10. So beautiful, David! Like everyone else, I love the colour, the simplicity and the wonderful story behind it. I love your celebrations! I should be better at celebrating but sometimes I just get lost in the whole "life" part of it. Every day is worth celebrating.
    I can't find Italian plums here all the time, but maybe I can try it with regular ones? Sounds delicious!
    I also love the photos of your home in NY. What a lovely kitchen and I can't believe you hand painted the tiles! A labour of love indeed :)
    Beautiful memories.

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    1. I loved that old house, Nazneen! It will always have a special place in my heart. I actually dreamed about it last night, too!

      From what I see, you make every day for Trace and your kids special. They are very lucky! xo

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  11. A beautifully presented recipe, David. That opening shot is stunning! I think it wonderful that you both celebrate each other. As you know, life can turn in an instant. Don't wait until then to look back and think how good things once were. Appreciate -- and celebrate -- the good now.

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    1. Thanks, John. I know exactly what you mean about life turning quickly when we aren't looking or paying attention. Your sweet message warmed my heart today.

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  12. Wise sentiment, that everyday is a celebration. (Though I have gained a few lbs this summer doing a bit more celebrating than I should.) The color of the soup is amazing. I have a few plums (not purple so thanks for the heads up on the color) that I may need to do a count of now...

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    1. Inger - I gained all the pounds that missed you! This is wonderful with any kind of plum, and I would be interested in the color it turns with yours!

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  13. I think I may have made this...having gotten the recipe from you. If so, I know it is sensational. If not, I've got to make this version, too. Love the photos and appreciate the sentiments. Celebrate each day!

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    1. I think you have made this, Susan! We did it for a Bastille Day dinner many years ago, when the blog was new!

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  14. I've never heard of plum soup, but from the ingredients, it sounds lovely! That color is truly awesome too, no wonder it's a special occasion soup! ;)

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    1. The color is what won me over when I first made it, Christina - I love it use the soup as a place card and write people's initials in crème fraîche!

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