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Gazpacho

gazpachoIt’s funny how conversations get replayed in your head.  I was just thinking now about one I had a couple of months ago with my daughter, Laura.  She asked me if I liked her at this age (20) or when she was younger.  I paused, thought about what she asked, and said that I enjoy this moment in time just as much as before…they’re just different stages in our lives.  She smiled and hugged me.   I spoke to Jason, my son, yesterday and talked about how he was liking his new home, work etc. and of course how the cooking aspect of it was going.   He told me he loves to cook so that’s not an issue.  Jason was always eager to help out in the kitchen while Laura was keen to eat!  They’re two different people (thank goodness) and since Laura has been in an apartment for the past two years (university life), things have changed and she now calls me to ask how to cook this or prepare that.  It makes my heart sigh when I hear they tried a recipe from my food blog and had success.  They know how much I encourage them to eat a sensible diet and hope that this recipe is one they’ll try, too. This Spanish liquid salad is perfect when it’s too hot to cook. Gazpacho originated in the south of Spain and was food for peasants and shepherds.  Packed with vitamins and minerals, it’s a perfect way to incorporate veggies into your diet.

Serves 2

1 cup English cucumber, chopped
1 yellow pepper or red, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
14 oz. can Italian finely chopped tomatoes
1 large heirloom tomato, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, chopped (bite-size pieces)
1 can (10 oz.) tomato juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
handful cilantro, chopped
1 garlic, minced
Tabasco sauce (to your liking)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

gazpacho ingredientsIn a large bowl, add ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning and add more liquid (water or tomato juice) if too thick.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
If you like, once the soup is combined you can remove half of it and purée, then pour this back into the chunky soup.  Make sure the gazpacho is well-chilled.  Enjoy!

Melon and Cucumber Salad

melon & cucumber saladAccording to The Oxford Companion to Food, salad is a term derived from the Latin sal (salt), which yielded the form salata, ‘salted things’ such as the raw vegetables eaten in classical times with a dressing of oil, vinegar, or salt.   In the medieval period, salads composed of green leaves, sometimes with flowers.  Later, at least in England, fruits such as orange and lemon were added.  Melons and cucumbers go well together as they are part of the gourd family and are available now at farmers’ markets.   An easy dish to whip up and the flavors won’t disappoint.  This is melon and cucumber salad is a perfect recipe to help cool down when the mercury soars!

Serves 4

melon, trimmed and chopped into bite-size pieces
small English cucumber, washed and sliced
handful red grapes, cut in half
poppy seeds
olive oil
fresh lime juice
fresh mint, sliced

In a bowl, gently toss melon, cucumber, mint and grapes. Squeeze half a lime over the melon mixture and toss. Add a splash of olive oil and toss to combine. When ready to serve sprinkle over with poppy seeds.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Season the salad with salt and pepper and adjust lime juice accordingly.  Be careful not to add too much oil as there’s plenty of juice from the melon and grapes.  Enjoy!