Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Garden Gazpacho !

This is my favorite way to prepare gazpacho. Use summer tomatoes from the garden of most any variety. Serve in bowls for a sit-down dinner, alternatively serve in mugs with a less formal buffet.


1/4 cup red wine vinegar, or to taste
1 cup low-sodium tomato juice
8-10 fresh tomatoes (roma, beefstake)
1 small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
6 english cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 avocado, chopped (optional for garnish)

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and tomato juice. Set aside.

In a blender, working in batches, combine the tomatoes, puree until smooth, 30 to 40 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Combine the onion, garlic and puree until smooth. Add to the bowl with the tomato puree. In the blender, combine the bell pepper, cucumbers and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add to the bowl with the tomato puree. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings with salt. Ladle into chilled bowls. Garnish with chopped avocado or diced cucumber.  Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Citrus Marinade- Perfect for the BBQ !

Followers of my blog, really love this simple, summer recipe. Here it is again:


My favorite ingredient for creating homemade marinades is citrus. This marinade is fantastic for chicken, beef or fish, and works especially well for grilling. Marinade meat for a minimum of two hours and a maximum of eight hours. 

1/2 cup orange juice (juice of 1 orange)
1/2 cup lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 inch section fresh ginger, peeled, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced


Marinate chicken or fish by placing in air-tight, sealed plastic bags submerged in liquid. Marinate maximum of eight hours.

Grilled Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette

Grilled Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette

Makes 6 servings


3 yellow tomatoes

3 red tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Garnish: fresh basil sprigs


Clean and preheat grill. You may also prepare this recipe indoors using a grill pan on the stove top. Soak skewers submerged in water for at least a half hour. Cut tomatoes in half; thread onto skewers, alternating colors. Brush with 1 to 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300 F to 350 F) 10 minutes, turning skewers often. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and basil; drizzle over kabobs. Garnish with fresh basil, chiffonade cut.

Summer Tomatoes 101

Summer Tomatoes 101

Once feared as poisonous and then considered a possible aphrodisiac, the "love apple" now adds its vivid color and delicious flesh to innumerable dishes. Like the potato, this fruit (which is generally treated as a vegetable) is a member of the nightshade family and is native to South America.

After finally gaining acceptance as a food in Europe and the United States, tomatoes became an inextricable part of many cuisines, especially those of the Mediterranean. In Italy, they are used to make sauce for pasta, pizza and many other dishes.

Sliced tomatoes are served with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and balsamic vinegar to make a Caprese salad. Other recipes that depend on tomatoes for their character include minestrone, gazpacho, ratatouille, Greek salad and tomato soup. And, of course, tomatoes are a staple of New World cuisine from the American South's fried green tomatoes to Texas' chili con carne, from Latin America's salsa cruda to the "BLT," bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Who doesn't love a great BLT in the summer made with garden fresh tomatoes?

Today's health conscious cooks know that, far from being poisonous, the tomato is high in vitamin C and cancer-fighting antioxidants. The tomato comes in a wide range of sizes, from tiny currant tomatoes no bigger than blueberries to fat beefsteaks up to 5 inches in diameter. The colors are varied, too, from white to purple black to reddish black, with green-striped zebra tomatoes. Dedicated gardeners have traced and reintroduced a number of heirloom tomatoes. Look for heirloom tomatoes in a wide variety of colors, size and shapes.

Storing tomatoes: Most tomatoes, if left whole, should not be stored in a refrigerator. Store ripe, uncut tomatoes at room temperature for several days and the will ripen further. Although whole fresh tomatoes should not be refrigerated, cut tomatoes should be wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper and then refrigerated.

Favorite Summer Recipe !

Salad of Tomatoes, Pecans, Peaches, Blueberries, Goat Cheese and Basil


1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (if white is not available, use traditional brown)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade

2 to 3 pounds sliced heirloom tomatoes (use varying colors and sizes)

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half

3 ounces crumbled goat cheese (substitute with blue or feta if you prefer)

3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

1 cup fresh blueberries

Pinch of salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste


Whisk together balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, olive oil and salt. Stir in diced peaches into mixture Place single layer of sliced tomatoes on serving platter. I usually overlap one edge of tomatoes for a nice presentation. Spoon out peach/balsamic/olive oil mixture over tomatoes. Then sprinkle sliced cherry tomatoes, crumbled cheese and chopped toasted pecans on top of tomatoes. Next sprinkle chiffonade of basil on top. Finally, sprinkle freshly ground pepper and sprinkle of salt to taste