When I was in middle school, somehow I stumbled into music and it became my passion. But the "passion", the dreams of being a part of some fancy London/LA symphony, came later. That first year was sheer determination. I signed up to play flute because it seemed the most girly and elegant instrument to learn. I mean, how girly can you look playing a tuba?
I could not make a single not come out of that instrument for weeks. I still remember how much my cheeks burned when the director suggested I consider a different instrument, or that maybe band just "wasn't for me."
In front of the class.
But by senior year of high school, I was second chair in the top tier of bands, thank you very much. That's music code for second best. In the school and the county, because I ranked second chair in the county orchestra too.
Take that, Mr. Newcomb.
One of the best experiences in Symphonic Winds was being invited to give a concert onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise to Ensenada, Mexico.
Surprisingly, I don't remember much about Mexico. I don't remember the concert or the music we played, only that they chose that night to turn the stabilizers off and it felt like we were playing onboard the sinking Titanic. And I don't remember what we did for four or so days on the ship, except that it involved a lot of Shirley Temples and the boys made us watch Hannibal at some point.
However, two very important things that stick out in my memory.
This little guy, who showed up at the end of my bed one evening:
And the strawberry bisque.
Honestly, I had to google "strawberry soup thing" before I discovered it was actually something fancy and French called bisque. And of course, no two recipes are the same and everyone claims to have the *original* cruiseline recipe.
Mmm. This was a good memory lane to trudge down. It was summery and light and an excuse to use my new miniature wine glasses. I'd been putting off making it because of that 8 hour chill time (I'm not the most patient person you'll ever meet), but it was worth it. I whipped it up before bed and it was ready for breakfast.
I was feeling experimental so I added a little bit of almond extract and cinnamon. I considered eating the bowl right there in the kitchen at 11:30 at night.
I'm not sure whether this is exactly what I ate that night off the coast of whoknowswhere, but this tasted like a melted strawberry milkshake and there's nothing wrong with that. Next time I would add a few more strawberries or some raspberries and double or triple the recipe. This only made enough for one or two small servings.
Chilled Strawberry Bisque
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
Puree together the sliced strawberries, milk, whipping cream, and sour cream. Stir in sugar, almond extract, and cinnamon to taste.
Chill for 8 hours or overnight. Stir a few times and pour into chilled serving glasses. Garnish with more strawberries!
Source: Adapted from Tasty Kitchen.