Eat & DrinkFeaturesSeason's Eatings


By Debbie AndersonAugust 3, 2022No Comments

Some Like it Hot

Photos by Meda Kessler

Jen Williams, a private chef and caterer who runs JayCee Hospitality, enjoys experimenting with interesting flavor combinations using seasonal items from area farmers.

Because she hates food waste, she will figure out a way to use every part of whatever protein, vegetable or fruit is on her shopping list. Soups and stews are among some of her favorite recipes to make, as they taste better the second day and are easy to prepare in big batches if you need to feed a crowd. With cantaloupe in season right now, it’s the perfect time to try a couple of Williams’ favorite recipes — one for a curry served hot, the other a cool bisque. The colors are inviting, and both dishes are rich in flavor.

Chilled Curried Cantaloupe Bisque

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 batch Cantaloupe-Squash Curry (see recipe)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into small dice (reserve some for garnish)
  • ½ green bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 1 cantaloupe, peeled and cut into small dice (reserve some for garnish)
  • 2 limes
  • ⅔ small bunch cilantro (or less, to taste), chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • Honey, optional
  • 1 small bunch basil

Add curry to blender. Combine cucumber, green pepper and cantaloupe in a large bowl. Add juice of 2 limes and remainder of chopped cilantro (or to taste) from the curry recipe. Adjust seasoning with more lime juice, if needed. Sweeten with a bit of honey, if desired. Add to blender and mix well. Let sit overnight in refrigerator for flavors to develop. To serve, pour into bowls and top with garnish of cucumber, cantaloupe and cilantro and torn basil leaves to taste.

Cantaloupe-Squash Curry

Serves 4 to 6

  • Cooking oil
  • 5 celery ribs, cut into medium dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into medium dice
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into medium dice
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3 tablespoons yellow curry paste (Mae Ploy brand recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, peeled and cut lengthwise into 2 or 3 pieces
  • 1 cantaloupe, trimmed and cut into medium dice
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into medium dice
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (reserve ⅔ bunch for bisque and some for garnish)

Over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons light cooking oil to a large, thick-bottomed saucepan. Sweat celery, bell pepper and onion with 2 teaspoons salt until translucent. Add dry ingredients and slightly toast. Once you start to smell the spices, add curry paste, brown sugar, bay leaf, lemongrass, cantaloupe and squash. Cover with 2 quarts water. Add ⅓ bunch chopped cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half. Remove bay leaf and lemongrass. Serve hot over white rice, basmati or your favorite, with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.