August 21, 2013 at 1:00 am

Let's Talk Food: What are you doing with cantaloupe?

This cantaloupe soup is lovely chopped more lightly for some texture; if you'd like it to be a thick smoothie, puree further. (Maureen Tisdale / The Detroit News)

Last week at church, my friend Shelly, who’d seen Let’s Talk Food links on my Facebook page, said, “So you're writing about food although you said you’re not a good cook?” That made me laugh (sometimes, the truth is just funny), but she really caught my attention with what she said next.

She started telling me about a cantaloupe soup she’d made and loved, and how she tweaked the original recipe. Another friend nearby said it sounded like it would be good with granola, and we were off talking food.

I love that about food — it’s such an easy connector. Everybody eats, most people have an opinion, and the conversations are so much less likely to be divisive than if they’re about, say, politics. It’s such a comfortable, fun way to find common ground.

Shelly’s soup sounded so simple, tasty and healthy, I decided to give it a shot. With cantaloupes in the prime of their season right now, I picked up a regular one, as well as a couple of the similar though sweeter Michigan honeyrocks — much reassured about the choice by a tweet from the Produce Station in Ann Arbor that recommended using honeyrocks in a cantaloupe soup.

I thought the soup could be a twist on breakfast for my husband. When he unceremoniously dumped the bowl I gave him into a glass and drank it — I wouldn’t call him a cold soup kind of a guy — it became a smoothie I tucked into his lunchbag.

A fun conversation and something new for the lunchbag. Who has to be a great cook to enjoy doing it?

Cantaloupe Soup

From “Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies” by Suzanne Havala, M.S., R.D. (2001).

It takes 10 minutes to prepare (whoo hoo!) but unlike me, you might want to plan for the chill time so you’re not stressing your husband out making him wait for it to chill to try it before church so he can tell your friend what he thinks of it.

Shelly tweaked it by using vanilla yogurt instead of plain (and I followed suit). She also added some wheat germ to make it even more healthy (she says it didn't change the flavor at all) and used chop or whip on the blender instead of puree so it would have a bit more texture. If you want to try the smoothie version, though, puree is the way to go.

By the by, if you are a cold soup kind of a person, you might enjoy the article we ran recently on fruit gazpacho. which has recipes for peach gazpacho (for a starter) and mixed exotic fruit gazpacho (for a summery dessert).

1 medium cantaloupe, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup orange juice
Juice from 1 fresh lemon or lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt (vegans can sustitute 1 medium ripe banana)
Fresh mint leaves

Combine the cantaloupe, orange juice, lemon or lime juice, honey and yogurt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Refrigerate until the soup is very cold — at least 1 hour. Serve in glass bowls or cups and garnish with mint leaves.

Havala says if you love the flavor and aroma of fresh mint with melon, tear a mint leaf into tiny pieces and add it to the blender with the other ingredients. As the soup chills, the mint will blend with the other flavors. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving (original recipe): Calories 128 (from fat 9); Fat 1g (saturated 0g); Cholesterol 1 mg; Sodium 60 mg; Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 5g.

What are you doing with cantaloupe? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below the recipe. You need a Facebook account to add comments, but they’re free and easy to sign up for, which is how I managed to have one for years and ignore it except for this sort of thing. I’ll be keeping an eye out the next few days to respond to any great comments or questions you post. You can also follow me on Twitter @reentiz. Join the discussion!