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Summer soups

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In the wilting summer heat, when many people like to cook quickly and eat light, a chilled summer soup can be almost as refreshing as a plunge in the pool. The basic proposition -- from the earliest cold fruit soups, dating back more than 1,000 years, to today -- hasn't changed much:

You want something cold and something fruity -- or, at the very least, zesty. That's probably what made cold soups popular on the Continent, and why immigrants brought their recipes to the New World.

Some of those early fruit soups included vegetables to give them more substance, or they could be made even more filling by the addition of sweet dumplings.

Many of the mixtures were extremely imaginative, using whole fruit, pur'eed fruit, attractive combinations of Concord grapes and melon balls, cherries, beets, oranges, and carrots.

The following recipes offer some rather unusual combinations of fruits, berries, and fruits and vegetables. These flavorful soups can be served in a variety of ways -- as light summer snacks, appetizers, or cooling desserts. Gingery Carrot-Orange Soup 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine 1/3 cup chopped green onion 3 cups sliced carrots 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper 2 cups water 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice 1/2 cup whipping cream 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice Orange slices (garnish) Carrots julienne (garnish)

Melt butter in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add green onion and saut'e until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in carrots, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon and saut'e 3 more minutes.

Blend in flour, salt, and pepper and toss until carrots are coated with flour. Cook 1 minute. Add water and orange juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.

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