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Elegant Melon-Berry Refresher

Sophisticated and practical at a blow, this small iced soup can open a beautiful dinner on a hot summer night--be served as a palate cleanser in between courses--or close a rich dinner as a dessert and digestif. Past contributor Lisa Gitelson has done it again: it's a doozie. She adapted it from a New York Times recipe--I've adapted it a little further. Serve to 4-6 people in small, fancy cups--crystal or porcelain are nice.

Garnish: 4-6 small scoops of highest quality berry sorbet (don't skimp here!) and 4-6 fresh rasberries for garnish

Puree melon cubes with honey, salt, and water. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Puree strawberries with pepper and balsamico. Strain, then pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, stir both purees and evaluate their consistency. Thin whichever one is thicker (usually the strawberries) with enough ice water to make it the same consistency as the other.

Measure a scant 1/4 cup of melon puree into each of the chilled cups, then measure a scant 1/4 cup of berry puree into the center of the melon puree. Swirl gently, then top each with a small scoop of sorbet topped with a rasberry.