What Gazpacho Taught Me About My Tastebuds

green gazpacho

It was a fun week experimenting with my Farmer’s Market goodies. I enjoyed only having to throw everything into a blender and then TA-DA…dinner was served! All of my summer produce was showcased so nicely in its raw state. Nothing beats summer veggies at their freshest, and using them in a crisp, bright gazpacho served before the main dish is the perfect way to highlight their awesomeness. So get out to the Farmer’s Market and see what you can find. Use these recipes only as a starting point, and let whatever bounty you score be the star of your dish.

 

white gazpacho

 

Gazpacho week has taught me something I had long forgotten about my tastebuds…they don’t like raw onion. And guess what? Gazpacho is packed full of raw onion. Raw everything, right? Next time I make gazpacho I think I’m going to cheat a bit. I’m going to sauté whatever onion, shallot or leek the recipe calls for before I chunk it into the blender. Problem solved. If you’re not a fan of raw onion I encourage you to do the same when you play with these two recipes. You’ll be happier with the results and will still only have to do minimal cooking. However, if you’re not worried about that strong taste and resulting strong breath, give the recipe a whirl as is.

Happy cooking!

Green Goddess Gazpacho

green goddess gazpacho

3 spring onions
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1 green pepper, cut into a few chunks
2 cucumbers, cut into large chunks
1 avocado
5 tbsp fresh basil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
fresh dill or dried dill weed, for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Throw everything in the blender and puree until smooth. Garnish with dill, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve.

 

Nutty White Gazpacho

nutty white gazpacho

1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
2 slices of crustless white bread
1/4 cup pine nuts (1 1/2 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped (optional to saute)
1 1/4 cups blanched slivered almonds
1/2 medium seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped, plus 1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and white pepper, to taste

  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water until cool and drain well.
  2.  In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups of cold water with the cooked cauliflower, bread, pine nuts, chopped garlic, sherry vinegar, chopped shallot, 1 cup of the slivered almonds and the coarsely chopped cucumber; blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and pulse just until incorporated. If necessary, add more water to thin the gazpacho. Season the soup with salt and pepper and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  3.  Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of slivered almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 6 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. Ladle the gazpacho into bowls. Garnish the soup with the toasted almonds and the finely diced cucumber and serve.

 

Special Saturdays

farmer's market peaches

There is nothing I love more than a good Farmer’s Market. Saturday mornings and farmer’s markets go together like grilled cheese and tomato soup. Sure, one is fine without the other – enjoyable even. But put them together and you have something special, and this past Saturday was just that – special.

It’s rare that we are able to do anything last-minute these days. With a rambunctious two-year old boy and a very scheduled three-month-old girl, outings take advanced planning. Who am I kidding? A shower, a bathroom break and even a moment to brush my teeth in the morning all take advanced planning! However, the stars aligned this Saturday morning and when both babies had been fed and BJ and I had downed our first round of caffeine, we loaded up the car and headed into the Village for our first trip to the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market since Allie came along. It was a gorgeous summer day- blue skies, warm air, cool breeze. Tourists were still asleep and had yet to descend on the tiny town, which meant there were plenty of parking spots. God was smiling down on our gutsy little adventure for sure.

After pulling into a fabulous spot, BJ loaded both kiddos into the stroller and I hit the ATM so I would have plenty of cash. Everyone at the market was in a lovely mood; how could they not be with the aroma of perfectly ripe peaches, succulent basil and sweet tomatoes wafting through the air? Oh take me back!

loryn-at-farmer's-market_forweb

 

farmers-market-flowers_forweb

I’m kind of a spazz at the market. There is no method to my madness- I just pick what looks good at each stand, not wanting any one vendor to be left out. Sometimes I legitimately sympathy-buy. That’s when I go for the onions. I could have shopped for days but knowing we will be heading out of town this week, I tried to be sensible and only buy what I would actually have time to cook. I also tried VERY hard to stay away from the flowers…So hard! I did come away with a ton of tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers the size of baseball bats…ok maybe t-ball bats…purple basil, mint, cauliflower, almonds and some gorgeous bunches of scallions.

farmers market tomatoes

 

farmers market cucumbers

 

I’m ready to cook! Except I’m not. It’s been getting hot in the afternoons and when I turn on my stove or oven the house heats up like no one’s business. So I’m not going to cook. Instead, I’m going to let all of this glorious produce speak for itself and make three beautiful gazpachos. A classic red, a lovely green, and a fun white one. I’ve never made gazpacho so I’m excited! I’m also excited that this trip to the farmer’s market is not going to sabotage my weight-loss plan. Oh speaking of weight loss and sabotage, did I mention the prosciutto empanada BJ and I shared while strolling through the stands? Holy buttery, flaky, salty goodness. Yum. I cried a little when it was gone. But how fun is that? Not only can you get ridiculously fresh and fabulous fruits and vegetables, you can hit up an emapanda stand or the tamale cart and EAT while you shop. Kellan’s favorite is the popsicle cart. He may or may not have enjoyed a strawberry lemonade popsicle at 9am. Don’t judge.

I’ll let you know how it goes with the gazpachos and will share the three recipes in the next week or so. Hopefully BJ will humor me. I suppose I can always hand him some tortilla chips and call it salsa. We shall see! 🙂

5 Things to Eat Before Summer is REALLY Gone With the Wind

 

 

heirloomtomatoes

 

Cold Soup- Keep your house cool on a hot summer day and whip up a no-cook gazpacho. Tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers are at their peak this time of year so there’s no better time to eat them in their “raw’ form. Did I mention the health benefits are even greater before all of the nutrients have been cooked out? I’d love to include a gazpacho on the weekly meal plan but knowing what men like my husband and dad would say, I haven’t gotten that brave yet. Check out Ree Drummond’s Gazpacho recipe for one of the best I’ve tasted…and guess what guys, she tops it with shrimp!

Squash Blossoms- These vibrant, orange blossoms most often from a zucchini plant can be found at farmer’s markets around the country during summer. Stuff them with a creamy herbed cheese mixture and lightly fry them up, or thinly slice and sprinkle over a pasta dish. You can’t go wrong. Check out this source for more squash blossom inspiration.

Peaches- Peaches are at their absolute best for a few more weeks. Juicy and sweet- it’s time to take advantage of them. You could toss them in a cobbler, but let’s be honest, couldn’t you do that with frozen peaches just as easily? My suggestion is good old fashioned Peaches and Cream. Slice them up and pour in half and half, or if you dare- heavy cream! Peachy, creamy heaven in a bowl.

Heirloom Tomatoes- Look for heirlooms with their funky shapes and wide spectrum of colors. So ugly they’re cute, as a general rule heirloom tomatoes come from a seed that is at least 50 years old. When preparing an heirloom tomato keep in mind that less is more. Of course you can sauté it up in a pasta dish or roast some to intensify their already perfectly sweet flavor, but I think the nicest thing you can do is just leave them alone. Drizzle chopped heirlooms with good quality extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Simple salad perfection. Check out the entries and winners from Food52’s Heirloom Tomato Recipe Contest for more ideas.

Dessert in a Mason Jar- This was totally my Labor Day game plan. I was in charge of the dessert portion of our weekend potluck so I thought that Banana Pudding served up in a mason jar would be the perfect salute to summer’s farewell. Well, it would have been had I not completely misplaced my mason jars! They must have grown legs and hitch-hiked back to the South because I can’t find them anywhere. The banana pudding was delish, but I just know it would have tasted even better layered into a mason jar! Need more mason jar inspiration? Check out this cute blog with all sorts of tips and tricks.