Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cool Refreshing Gazpacho

I enjoy Gazpacho.  It is great on these hot, steamy humid days with a lovely glass of rosé or Albariño. I often see it on the menu and I'm usually disappointed when I order it, like last night.  I like mine to have a little bit of chunkiness to it. However, it is usually all pureed. I understand because it is easier just to puree it all instead of chopping and dicing.

Gazpacho is a traditional dish from Spain that spread to Portugal and Latin America.  They all have their own variations with adding bread or avocados and even omitting the tomatoes and having more fruit based like watermelon.  They traditionally use a mortar and pestle instead of a blender of food processor, which cause the puree to foam a bit, and a sieve for the tomatoes to get the seeds out. 
It is great summer soup because it is a soup served cold and the acidity of the tomatoes add to the refreshingness of it.  There is some prep work with dicing and chopping.  Or you can just throw it all in the food processor until completely pureed.  Your choice and it is worth it either way!
To make the soup as rich and flavorful as you can, use fresh tomatoes from your own tomato plants or gather some up at a wonderful local farmers' market.  Canned tomatoes can be more flavorful than many fresh ones you buy in your regular supermarket.  Check out this article on tomatoes.  Letting it sit longer also enhances the flavor of the soup, a minimum of 2 hours but t is still spectacular days down the road.
Visit That's Vegetarian  to prepare any one of the dishes and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!" 

1/2c Celery, chopped
1 Red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 Red onion, chopped
1 Garlic clove, chopped
1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped
2t Hot pepper such as jalapeno, Anaheim, or Serrano, chopped
1/2c Cilantro, chopped + 12 stems for garnish
5 Tomatoes, chopped
2c Tomato juice
1 can Diced tomatoes
1 avocado cubed (opt)
2T White wine vinegar
1T avocado oil or olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 lime wedged
Mix the celery, peppers, onion, garlic, cucumber, cilantro, and 3 of the chopped tomatoes in a large bowl. Using a regular or immersion blender or a food processor, puree the can of tomatoes. Add half of the veggie mixture to the pureed tomatoes and pulse about 5 times for 3-5 seconds each time. Add the remaining mixture and pulse another five times. Continue to blend until you get your desired texture. Pour into a bowl and mix in the tomato juice, remaining chopped tomatoes, vinegar and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight. 

Serve with cilantro, lime wedge, avocado and/or cucumber slices.

Serving size 1 cup
Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
4pp (2pp if you leave out avocado)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Easy Peasy Homemade Mayonnaise

All egg whites so healthier for you.  

Just made some home made mayonnaise. If you have never had fresh mayo, it will knock your socks off. 

Blend 1 egg white (3 T liquid egg white) - but not right out of the fridge, let it warm up a bit, 1/2 t salt (I've used truffle salt, smoked salt, regular salt), 2 t cider vinegar or lemon juice, and 1/2 t dry mustard (or whatever you have in the fridge) for about 30 seconds. Slowly add, as in drizzle in, 1/3 c olive oil and 2/3 c grapeseed oil (or 1 c  mix of vegetable oil of choice - sesame, safflower, sunflower, flax, avocado) until thickened about 3 minutes. Start at a low speed and increase it a few notches. 

Takes less than 5 minutes. But do know it doesn't last as long as store bought. You only have a few days to use up. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cherries - Probably my favorite summer fruit!

Anyone who knows me, knows my passion for cherries.  I will walk by the street vendors in NYC and buy 2 pounds at a time (you get a better deal).  Sometimes even twice a week.  I am worry that they will disappear without notice.  During the winter, I get the frozen ones.  Those are nice because they are sans pit.

There are two basic groups of cherries - sweet and sour. The most common sweet cherries we eat like candy include bing, black, and Ranier. The sour cherries - montmorency, are usually used for pies and fruit sauces. It is challenging to find the sour cherries.  The sour cherries are slightly lower on the glycemic load index therefore raising your blood glucose a little less than the sweet ones.

Both groups are full of health benefits, however the sour cherries are more abundant in the quantity of the nutrients.  The benefits can be obtained from cherry juice as well but keep in moderation as cherries are high in sugar to begin with and in the juice you are not getting the advantages of the fiber.  A few benefits include:

  • Antioxidants - vitamins A & C, melatonin,  and beta carotene, which help fight the free radicals in the body which can damage and destroy cells. 
  • Anti-inflammatory and increased memory effects because of the abundance of anthocyanins. 
  • Anti-carcinogenic properties due to quercetin 
  • Contain the minerals magnesium, iron, folate, potassium, boron, and fiber.

The best recipe I have for fresh cherries is to rinse and eat.  Much easier than trying to cut around the pit or using a cherry pitter.  Frozen cherries - put in yogurt or ricotta cheese to make a deliciously sweet breakfast and add a little amaretto and slivered almonds.   Also, puree the frozen cherries in a blender or food processor for a sorbet like dessert.  Perfect for the end of summer.

Antiodxidant-fruits. 2009. Web. 09 Aug 2015.
Berkeley Wellness. Remedy Health Media, UC Berkeley. 2015. Web. 09 Aug 2015.
Self Nutrition Data. CondeNaste, 2014. Web. 09 Aug 2015. and