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Cox: Custom-blended recipes sure to be a hit

“Blend It!”

By the editors of Good Housekeeping (Sterling Publishing. $14.95)

Each spring, many Tucson cooks move their blenders to the top of their kitchen counters because during the warmer weather months it becomes not just an appliance but THE appliance.

In recent years, a series of cookbooks have proved that the blender isn’t just for making smoothies. With a little imagination and guidance, it can also help whip up delicious soups, sauces, pancakes and even chicken liver pâté.

In this Good Housekeeping collection, the 150 recipes have been triple-tested and are divided into six main chapters: Smoothies & Blender Breakfasts; Soda Fountain & Coffee Bar Favorites; Fizzes, Slushes & Frozen Cocktails; Sensational Soups; Dips, Sauces & Salad Dressings; and Pancakes, Popovers & Waffles. In addition to the recipes, there is the latest buzz on blenders. For example, safety tips, how to get the most out of your utensil, and what to look for when purchasing a new one.

The recipes are fairly straight forward. Most of the smoothies and slushes are old family favorites. The surprises are in the chapter on soups. Three are especially interesting: a Butternut-Apple Soup that features squash and fresh apples, a delicious Cream of Asparagus Soup that is a snap to make, and a Creamy Buttermilk-Beet Soup (it’s better than you think).

Two recipes were prepared from this collection. On a hot afternoon, I made a bracing Strawberry Margarita. For supper later that same day, I made the Creamy Buttermilk-Beet Soup, which required just four ingredients. Both the cocktail and soup were prepared in less than 10 minutes.

Creamy Buttermilk-Beet Soup

Makes 4 cups

2 cups buttermilk

1 can (14 1/2 to 15 ounces) beets, drained

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, with additional dill sprigs for garnish

In blender, combine buttermilk, beets, and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl; stir in minced dill. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Garnish will sprigs. Serve with homemade bread.

Tucsonan Larry Cox’s “Shelf Life” reviews of fiction and nonfiction books and his “Treasures and Trends” antiques column run Thursdays in Calendar Plus. For more, go to tucsoncitizen.com/ calendar. E-mail: contactlarrycox@aol.com

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