Recipe: Summer Gazpacho

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Friends were coming to town and I needed to plan a menu that was gluten-free.  Yes, I could get a bunch of boxed items and go to a specialty food market and get pre-cooked packaged food but I thought for a BBQ, it would be great to have a summer soup and lots of grilled meats, fish and veggies.  This gazpacho was absolutely perfect!

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Summer Gazpacho

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 whole diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 whole red onion or sweet onion, Diced
  • 1 whole seedless Cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 whole Zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (from about 1/4 whole)
  • 1 cup Tomato Juice
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 avocado, sour cream and cilantro for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

How to Make it:

  • As you dice your veggies(tomato, cucumber, pepper, zucchini), keep a small handful of each aside for garnish.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine the minced garlic with the onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, tomato juice, red wine vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil while the processor/blender is mixing. Soup should be slightly chunky or speckled, not smooth.
  • Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and half of the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. (Reserve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnish.)
  • Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least a couple of hours; soup needs to be very cold!
  • Remove the soup from the fridge and stir. Check seasonings one last time. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables, a sliver of fresh avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.

 

My Best Friend in the Kitchen

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I have posted how much I love my slow cooker and sadly, we recently broke up. The reasons – “It” wasn’t warm to me, took way too long to get things done and after numerous attempts I had to trade up.

Let me introduce you to my new best friend in my kitchen. The Cuisinart 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker.  slowcookerIt is a Slow Cooker, and a steamer AND it can brown and saute.  Yes, it does all of these things which means less pots to cook in, less pots to clean and less time in the kitchen.  Plus I bought it on Amazon and with Prime I had it the next day!

What have we made?  Tonight we are having ribs, last week we had korean beef and the week before that we had pot roast.  Prep is easy and dinner is ready when I walk in the door!

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Trader Joe’s – Small Bites for the Party

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Yes, it’s easy to have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes with items from Trader Joe’s! But if you have a chance to have a small party at your home, here are some great items for small plates and appetizers and a few sweets

  • Edamame hummus (one of my absolute favorites!) flyer-edamame-hummus
  • Frozen Indian Samosas and Pakora
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  • Cheese- they have so many options!  I personally like the Port Salut and the triple Creme but cheddar, blue or the goat is great.
  • Italian gourmet deli selection(great for a charcuterie plate with some cheese)
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  • Chocolate caramels(LOVE!)
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  • Peanut putter filled pretzel nuggets(LOVE and were sent in by a few friends)
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  • Tempura shrimp(pretty good for frozen)
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  • Potato latkes(a must buy and sent in by many friends)
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  • Pumpernickel pretzels(LOVE!)
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  • Trader Joe’s Arancini Bites – (my friend serves them with a side of marinara)
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  • Trader Joe’s Camembert Cheese and Cranberry Sauce Fillo –SO YUM
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  • Salsa Authentica and Salsa Verde with Organic blue corn chips
  • Reduced fat Cilantro Dressing – use for a veggie dip
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  • Reduced guilt chunky guacamole
  • Organic Corn Dippers
  • Parmesan pastry pups (pigs in a blanket)
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  • Mac and Cheese Bites(freezer section)
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So, what else do you love?

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My Favorite Things – Zilk’s Basil Pesto and Pimento Cheese

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Like many of you, I visit three food stores to complete my entire shopping list.  Here in Dallas, Tom Thumb is my primary go-to store.  Paper towels, ziploc bags, chicken broth, the standard stuff.  I use their app for discounts, I know which store brand products I like and I can be in and out of the store pretty fast.  The second store I shop at is Central Market.  Here I buy certain items that I cannot get at Tom Thumb.  They have an awesome marinated chicken at their meat counter, amazing italian meatballs with veal and they carry some of the foods I used to buy in the Northeast.  Whole Foods is the third. Of course I love all of their fish, meats and product but there are two or three items that I only buy at Whole Foods.   The first is Basil Pesto and the second is Pimento Cheese.

Zilks Foods is a small artisan producer in Austin;  both items are available in Dallas stores and are packaged by Whole Foods – sometimes the pesto is available on the self serve bar with the olives, other times it is with the other pestos and cheeses.  Both are absolutely fantastic and come in a variety of flavors(think hatch chile!)
Zilk’s Basil Pesto:

  • mix with cream and Parmesan to make a pesto sauce for pasta.  Add chicken and diced tomato for a great meal
  • add to a turkey or chicken sandwich with or without mayo
  • Serve over grilled chicken or fish
  • Add to a tomato and mozzarella salad

Zilk’s Pimento Cheese:

  • Use instead of sliced cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich and serve with tomato soup
  • The best topping for a fabulous cracker
  • Use on a hot roast beef sandwich

Any other recipe suggestions?

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