Friday, July 29, 2011

Some random questions answered.

Recently I was talking with a friend about the new heart healthy diet, and she had some questions that some of you readers may have as well. So I'm going to take a little time and answer. If there are questions you have that I don't answer here, please leave a comment and ask. There are no silly questions and I love getting feedback!

So this heart healthy thing. Why are you doing it?

My husband is a physician in training (a resident) and a well known doctor, Dr Esselstyn, at the hospital has done tons and tons of research on how what we eat effects our health. I think we all know this to a certain extent. Eating fast food everyday will make you fat and clog your arteries and you'll most likely die early from a heart attack. Eating your fruits and veggies is good for you. We've all heard it.

This doctor says that you can stop and reverse heart disease (along with others) by eating a plant based, oil free diet. (So many things, in my mind, wrong with NO oil!!)

We are not fans of that diet. But it did get us thinking about what we eat. And we ate pretty healthy to begin with, but we wanted to eat healthier. For us, this meant eating less dairy products, less meat - and we do no red meat in the house, and less eggs. So it looks a lot like a vegan diet (except that we love honey!), but it's not.

There are so many foods out there, like eggs, that are good for you, just not in large amounts (ie: 2-3 eggs per day), so we eat them in moderation. Same with dairy. If I have a recipe that calls for some milk, then I do it. If it calls for a little sprinkle of cheese on top, I do it. Everything in moderation.

And let me say again - we do this in the house only. We don't ever expect others to feed us this way, and if we go to a restaurant we eat what we want there, too.

Is it more expensive with all the crazy ingredients you have to buy?

I thought this would be the case, but NO! I am actually spending about the same amount or less per month on food because I'm not buying as much meat or cheese. I do buy more produce, but I have stayed inside my budget, at my usual grocery store. I do buy a handful of things at Whole Paycheck (raw PB, quiona, and some dry goods out of the bulk bins), but not enough to actually tip me over our budget.

Is it hard?

It was at first. Just getting my head around having to cook differently and still have balanced meals was tricky for me. I did a lot of research those first few weeks. I figured out that I didn't have to buy everything at once, and I also learned that some of those things that may sound expensive because you've never heard of them or bought them before, are actually not. IE: Nutritional yeast. Wheat germ. Flax seeds.

I also was able to figure out that the really expensive produce items, like Arugula, can be substituted for much less expensive items like Spinach. If a recipe calls for chopped nuts as garnish, I just don't do it.

What does your husband think of it? Is it filling for him?

For me, since my husband was the driving force behind this whole idea, I haven't had any issues in convincing him. It was his job to convince me. And convinced I stand. And yes, it is filling for him. It took a couple weeks for me to get the hang of pairing legumes with starches to produce a complete protein, but now that I have it, there are no more nights of finishing dinner still wanting a little more.

We always have a big salad with dinner. It's great. And quinoa is a great grain, a complete protein in and of itself. I've just had to work at making sure there is enough to eat (sides help with this), but when everything you have on the table is nutritious, then you can't go wrong with eating more of anything.

You love ice cream. How does that work?

Ahh yes. Ice cream. One of my vices. This was actually an easier transition than I thought. I now love sorbets. There are so many different flavors out there that it's easy. They are usually fruit based, so it's a good thing I like fruity things I guess. But when I need a "real" ice cream fix, I try to just have a little or I try to get a really good frozen yogurt (just so I'm not carrying all those extra empty calories around with me).

What do you do for a chocolate fix?

Thankfully, chocolate is great! You just get a solid bar and you're good to go. Or, some companies have chocolate flavored sorbets. Our favorite is from Trader Joes.

Toddlers. Do they eat it?

Yes they do. There are certain foods they don't exactly like, but most of the time we're fine. The Little Dude pretty much eats anything, and the Littlest Dude is a bit more picky - for the life of me, he won't eat sweet potatoes unless they're disguised in something. BUT - because they are growing and we feel they need the calcium so easily gotten from dairy, they eat "normal" breakfast and lunches and have a glass of milk every day. I may, one day, switch us all to Almond milk, but I'm still easing into this myself.

What is a typical breakfast and lunch look like?

For the boys: Always with some fruit: Cereal and milk. Toast with PB. Pancakes. Oatmeal. Lunch is a PBJ, PBH, Grilled cheese, Quesadilla with black beans, Spaghetti and sauce/cheese, sometimes mac n cheese, and typically always with a veggie and a fruit, but not always. See "snacks".

For me: A breakfast cookie and a cup of tea. Or some toast with PB. Sometimes a green monster. I'm not a big breakfast eater but thanks to my wonderful husband, I'm trying to change that. Lunch I do left overs, some PB on a plain rice cake, a sandwich, or a hummus with spinach and grapes wrap. My current favorite. I try to always have a small salad and some sort of fruit with whatever I'm eating.

For the dear husband: Steel cut oats. I make a big batch with tons of cinnamon and really ripe bananas and keep it in the fridge. He just scoops some out each morning and heats it in the microwave. For lunch, he has PB or hummus sandwiches, and sometimes a packed-full quinoa salad like this one. Also, leftovers if there's enough.

What do you snack on?

Carrots. Fruit. Crackers. Air popped popcorn. We're not big snackers.

Do you actually feel better?

Oh yes. We just feel, cleaner. I don't know how to describe it other than that. We have more energy, we feel stronger, we feel better. It's like one of those commercials where you don't believe them, but then you try it and it's like "Wow! They weren't joking!"

What are some of your current favorite recipes?

Black Beans and Sweet Potato Salad

Black Bean Burgers

Zucchini Quinoa Casserole

Raise the Roof Lasagna

Lentil Loaf and Lentil Tacos

What do you miss most?

A big juicy burger, and come winter, I'll miss my homemade mac n cheese. But hey - that's why we have one night a week where we eat whatever we want, right?

I hope this was helpful. I'm getting lots of help from other bloggers out there who are way ahead of me on this eating (and blogging about it) adventure. Some of my favs:

Peas and Thank you
Oh She Glows
The Edible Perspective
Poor Girl Eats Well
{Never Home}Maker

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chilled Cantaloupe-Peach Soup

The final product is very very smooth, not at all like the soup pictured here.

This is another winner from the Moosewood collection that I gathered from my mother's. Although, I do admit that it almost didn't make it on the blog. Only after some tweaking do I think it works.

There are, of course, reasons for it's only so-so-ness last night. I didn't puree it enough, so it was a little chunky. Well, not chunky, but somewhere in between chunky and smooth. Not good for people like me who are texture people. But, with the use of my handy dandy blender, the soup is now very smoothly uniform. The taste, too, was too "warm" for summer with the use of cinnamon, so I substituted ginger and that worked out very well! Next time I may experiment with mint. Mmm...

All in all, a great way to use extra peaches you have on hand, or just off set a fun main dish, like the Black Bean Burgers I made last night. Quick and easy - just remember that it needs to chill 3 hours prior to serving!

Chilled Cantaloupe-Peach Soup
Serves 6-8
  • 6 medium sized ripe peaches - peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 6 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/2 t cinnamon and/or ginger (more or less to taste)
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 medium sized (5-6'' diameter) ripe cantaloupe
  • 1 c fresh orange juice
  • Blueberries for garnish (if desired)
--Place peaches in a sauce pan with everything except the cantaloupe and OJ. Heat to a boil and them lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature. (
--Puree the peach mixture with all it's liquid and place in a serving bowl.
--Chop, deseed, and peel the cantaloupe. Place chunks in your food processor or blender with the OJ and puree until smooth.
--Add to the peach mixture, making sure the soup is as smooth as you want it. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving.
--Mollie Katzen says to garnish with blueberries, but of course I didn't notice this until I was almost done making it and I had already gone to the market.

Black Bean Burgers

I have been eying this recipe from Annie's Eats for a while now. As in, about 6 weeks. Since we started this heart healthy diet. And boy have we been missing out!

These things are so oh-my-black-bean-goodness good! Seriously. I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but when I was done with making the patties I went to grab a stray little bit that was left on my finger. And when I say that I "grabbed a stray bit" I really mean I licked the tip of my finger. And then, after I tasted what I had just put together, I proceeded to unabashedly lick all my other fingers. Oh yeah. All ten of them.

And then thoroughly wash my hands. Don't worry. My momma taught me well.

These were easy to put together, and I made them vegan. Because I love my husband and my husband does not like eggs. You remember when I said I was eventually going to try to make a flax seed egg? Well folks, eventually happened. And it worked! The burgers held together perfectly and they tasted finger-lickin' good!

Also, the original recipe calls for Panko. As I didn't have any at the house, and neither did the two markets I visited, I decided to do a little research and make my own. Want to know the secret? You can use regular old bread (crust free), put it in your food processor until fine, OR, you can finely crush up some saltines, OR you can used pulsed oats. Easy as that!

So now for the recipe.

Black Bean Burgers
Makes 6 patties

Active time: 10 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Serving Suggestions: Sweet potato fries, a green salad, and a fruit salad for dessert!

What you'll need:

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large eggs OR 2 flaxseed eggs (2 TBLS flaxseed meal + 6 TBLS warm water whisked together and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup quick cook oats OR old fashioned oats pulsed a little bit
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 TBLS flaxseed meal
  • 1 TBLS dry cilantro OR basil OR 1/4 cup fresh, chopped
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on spice tolerance
options: 1 1/2 cups of one of the following

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, with skins on, cooked until soft in the microwave and cut into little chunks - lightly mash
  • 1 can sweet corn OR 2 cups frozen, thawed

  • Potential toppings: red onion rings, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, ketchup, mustard

What you'll do:

  • Take 2 1/2 cups black beans and mash them in a bowl until smooth.
  • Add all other ingredients (including whole beans) and stir until combined
  • Divide into 6, 1/2 cup portions and form into patties with your hands
  • Place them on a plate and cover with plastic in the fridge until you're ready to cook them up (they can be like this for up to a day).
  • When ready to cook:  pan fry with a little olive oil in a skillet - 4-5 minutes each side  OR bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Eggplant Pecan Curry

This recipe is from the wonderfully old Moosewood Cookbook in my mother's cookbook cabinet. Yes. She has a cabinet for cookbooks.

Anyway. This recipe was one that we happened upon during my visit and that I'm just now getting the chance to blog about.

It was good, but not great. So why am I even writing this post? Because it could be wonderful with some little tweaks I'll add in. It was just too spicy for me (wimp that I am, I know) and the spice covered up any flavors that were there - which I found, honestly, to be minimal. So with some up on the spices (not the spicy kind, though!) and some more coconut flavor, I think this will be golden!

We served this over some quinoa with a great big salad and some steak for those who wanted to use this as a side dish.

Eggplant Pecan Curry
Serves 4-6

  • 2 T oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 1 1/2 t freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 1/2 c onion - minced
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t cayenne (or less!!)
  • 1 (heavy) t cumin
  • 1 t allspice
  • 2 T flour
  • water as needed
  • 1 1lb eggplant - cut into 1 in cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 c chopped toasted pecans
  • 2/3 c coconut milk (or more if you're like me and like it a little more soupy)
  • 1/2 c coconut flakes
  • Some carrots maybe? I don't know, I'm just thinking that it needed a little something extra and carrots may be the thing. So about 1 cup chopped carrots would do I think.
--Saute garlic, ginger, and onion with oil in large skillet for about 5 minutes until soft.
--Add the spices, and stir in the flour. Continue to stir and cook for 5-8 minutes, adding water to prevent from sticking. I ended up using close to a 1/2 cup.
--Add eggplant (and carrots if using!), stir, and lower heat. Cover and cook (stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed) for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are soft.
--Once tender, add the remaining ingredients and cook (and stir) for an additional 5-8 minutes.

Serve on it's own, over a hearty grain like quinoa or brown rice, or but in a bread bowl if you'd like. Just enjoy it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zucchini Quinoa Casserole

This dish was so easy to throw together. Within 30 minutes it was all assembled - and I was talking on the phone while doing it -- so that should tell you just how truly easy this meal is to make. And the taste you get from it is great! It's almost cheesy, it has just enough flavor, and because it's zucchini, it absorbs the flavors around it, so you don't get that raw biter zucchini flavor I was afraid of. (Just make sure your slices are about hte same thickness so that they cook evenly!)

Make this vegan if you like by using all non-dairy products, or do what I did and realize that it's just so little dairy that you can either go without or just deal with it. I think next time I will double this and freeze the other portion - does anyone know how well zucchini freezes? I may just have to try it and see.
This is originally a Peas and Thank You recipe (have I mentioned recently how much i enjoy this blog?) and she calls it a lasagna, but I felt it was more like a casserole than anything. BUT, if the fact that "casserole" is in the title bothers you because you equate casserole to mystery meat and lots of cheese and not a lot of spices, than think of this as a simple, delicious, non-traditional lasagna.

Served this with some bread and salad - enjoy!

***REVAMPED VERSION can be found HERE***

Zucchini Quinoa Casserole
serves 4-6

  • 2 large zucchini, cut into 12 thin, 1/4 in. thick slices
  • salt
  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1/4 c. minced onion
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T. non-dairy cream cheese (optional) - or regular if you're not vegan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (we used garlic and herb)
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy cheese (optional) - or again, regular if you're not vegan
-- Combine the quinoa, broth, onion, oregano, and a 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
--Meanwhile - slice the zucchini lengthwise (6 slices per zucchini) and lay the slices on a paper towel with some salt to draw out the liquid. Let sit.
-- Once all the liquid is absorbed, stir in the chopped spices and cream cheese if using.
-- Pat the zucchini slices dry and get ready to layer.
-- Layer in an 8x8 baking dish: little bit of pasta sauce, a layer of zucchini, half the quinoa mixture, more sauce, another layer of zucchini, more sauce, the rest of the quinoa mixture, more sauce, the last layer of zucchini, the rest of the sauce, and then sprinkle with cheese if you're using.
-- Bake for 30 minutes at 400 (until the zucchini is soft)

Rip's Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Vegetable Lasagna

Long name, I know, but this is a recipe I've been wanting to make since we turned heart healthy. It looked so delicious, I just had to try it. Sauteed vegetables (and lots of them!) with creamy sweet potatoes, all layered with yummy sauce and topped with cashews! Oh yes!

I admit, I was a little leery of all the steps and ingredients, but it was actually quite simple. I even managed to chop while the previous items were sauteing, which was such a time saver! If you pop the potatoes in the microwave when you start, then that's another step you're not waiting for. I think for this recipe to be "worth it", you have to read it through al the way and recognize where you can make short cuts or save/double up on time. I tried to write it all out below to help.

I made this for my folks (and boys) and they all loved it! It was just as delicious as I imagined and so pretty! We served this with some flat bread and salad, there was NO room for dessert. At all.

This recipe, in it's original form, can be found here.

Rip's Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Vegetable Lasagna

Serves 12
Active time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Serving Suggestions:  Large house salad and garlic bread.

What you'll need:

  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • 6 cups cubed sweet potatoes, skins on
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow squash
  • 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • 8 oz package white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed OR 1 can sweetcorn, drained
  • 16 oz (1 lb) bag frozen spinach, thawed OR 1 lb fresh spinach leaves, wilted
  • 1 block regular tofu, drained
  • 1 TBLS Italian spices
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2  24oz jars traditional spaghetti sauce
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick (need 24 slices)
  • 1 lb oven ready lasagna noodles (whole wheat if you can find it)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese for top (optional)

What you'll do:

  • Take a deep breath and realize that it looks like a lot but it's not going to be that hard.
  • After you cut your sweet potatoes, put them in a microwave safe dish with a lid and microwave them for 8-10 minutes until they're all soft.
  • Meanwhile, mince your garlic, chop your onion, mushrooms, squash, and zucchini.
  • Heat skillet, add oil and wait until hot.
  • Start to saute the garlic, onion, and mushrooms.
  • Once the microwave is free, microwave the squash and zucchini for about 5 minutes.
  • Once zucchini and squash are done, add to the skillet and saute with the others for another 10 minutes until everything is soft and about to fall apart.
  • Meanwhile, mash your sweet potatoes in a bowl with the spinach until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, break apart tofu.  Add spices, corn, and sauteed veggies when ready.  Stir until combined.
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In an 9x13 baking dish, pour 1/2 cup tomato sauce and spread around.  Now you're ready to layer in this order: layer of lasagna noodles, 1 cup sauce, all of the tofu/veggie mixture (don't worry, it'll all fit!), 1 cup sauce, layer of noodles, 1 cup sauce, all mashed sweet potatoes spread evenly, 1 cup sauce, last layer of noodles, rest of sauce, Roma tomato slices, sprinkled cheese if desired.
  • Cover with foil (spray with a little PAM and "tent" ) and bake for 50 minutes.  Uncover for the last 10 minutes.
  • Let sit 10 minutes before cutting/serving.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moosewood Cooking

My mom has let me raid her cookbook collection.

To many, this may not be a big deal. And it's really not. But this trip out here to Colorado could not have come at a better time diet wise. My very own mother and father were vegetarian for a while due to financial necessity mostly and because of that, my mother as a treasure trove of cookbooks dedicated to vegetarian cooking and eating. And as most of you know, the jump from vegetarian to vegan is more of a hop than a jump. Thankfully.

Needless to say, I have had a blast looking through some of these cook books by Mollie Katzen - author of all the famous Moosewood Cookbooks. I'm so excited to try some of the gems I think I've found! Some recipes that I hope to feature here over the next few months are Thai Carrot Soup, Bulgar with Spinach and Carmelized Onions, Aromatic Pasta sauce, Soybean Pie, Sweet Potato Gratin, and Chilean Bean Stew with cornbread. I've only gotten through one of FOUR cookbooks my mom has of hers.

Who knew cookbooks could get me so excited?

Any of you vegans out there even reading this have any good vegan cookbooks that use fairly common ingredients and are nice to the pocketbook?

Fish Tacos

While here in Colorado I'm doing my best to eat healthy, but it's vacation and I'm vacationing with people who are not vegan, so we're all making a lot of compromises. They're being very good and letting me do some of the cooking, making sure there are big salads, and not being offended if I go for the chicken rather than the beef, or skipping meat altogether and just loading up on veggies. I, on the other hand, am eating dairy and meat without complaint. Like this meal. Dairy and meat in one meal! And it was great.

I have a confession to make before I keep going. I have never eaten Fish Tacos before. The idea of taco seasoning and fish and sour cream was just really repulsive to me. When my mom suggested this as a meal, I did not hesitate to tell her how I felt, and she looked at me dumbfounded. "You've obviously never had a fish taco before!" And since I hadn't, I didn't argue. Once she explained that there was no taco seasoning and that the fish were just in a corn tortilla, making them a taco, I wanted to try one.

And so here is what we came up with. It was too spicy for me, but then again I'm a spice wimp, so I'll cut the cayenne down about half next time. My mom also said that usually this is made with shredded cabbage and carrots instead of the lettuce and cucumbers, so while I really enjoyed this version, I may experiment next time. We used pre-fabbed fish sticks, but I think making your own fish sticks, or just baking some talapia with spices and lime and cutting it into chunks would work really well, too, and also cut down on the fat content.

We served this with a simple Quinoa salad and it was a wonderful light and summery meal. We will be making these again - they are fun and easy and very very tasty.

Fish Tacos
Serves 4-6
  • 4-6 talapia fillets or enough fish sticks to feed 4-6 people
  • Lettuce or cabbage
  • Cucumber sliced thin or shredded carrots
  • 1 very small red onion - sliced very thin
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t dill
  • 1 t cayenne powder (unless you're a fellow spice wimp like me and then do as much as you dare)
  • Corn tortillas - lightly fried if you want
-- Shred the lettuce and slice the cucumber ( or the cabbage and carrots if you're going that way) and onion and put them in a pretty serving bowl with tongs. :)
-- In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, lime juice and spices. I suggest letting this sit for a little bit to let the flavors all meld together.
--Cook up the fish sticks or bake the fillets and then chunk them (11 minutes at 400 in tin foil with a little lime juice and some cumin would work really well.)
-- To assemble: put some "salad" or "slaw" mixture on a tortilla, top with fish, and then add a dollop of the sauce. Delish!

Vegetable Upside-Down Cake

This was an adventure to make. I used some shortcuts that I will employ next time, too, to save time. This may look complicated, but it's not. It's simply chopping, sauteing, and putting a crust on top. Simple enough, right?. Warning, though, there is a bit of chopping, so I suggest frozen broccoli and cauliflower and canned or frozen corn. Also, I found the crust to be too salty for me - so next time I'll use a different milk - either regular or Almond if I want to make it vegan, and I'll omit the salt, or cut it in half. I also didn't like the green pepper in the recipe, so I'll omit that as well.

To make this vegan, I'll use flax seed eggs, and omit the cheese and use a different milk - but I think I will make this again. It could also be used as a side. A little bit of work for a side if you ask me, but if you're grilling chicken or fish and want a good solid veggie side that's non-traditional, then this is your side!

Vegetable Upside-Down Cake
Serves 6 (8-10 for side)
  • 4 T butter
  • 3 T wheat germ
  • 1 c onion - chopped
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 1/2 c chopped cauliflower
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper - minced
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 c white flour
  • 3/4 c wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t each: basil, thyme, oregano, dill
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c wheat germ
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (or other milk?)
  • 1/4 vegetable oil or butter
-- Melt 3 T of butter and distribute it evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle in the wheat germ.
-- Put all hard veggies in a microwave safe dish and steam until slightly tender (5 minutes). Meanwhile:
-- Saute onion in the 1 T butter left over until soft. Once hard veggies are slightly soft, transfer ALL veggies to the skillet and saute until the mushrooms are soft. (5 minutes)
-- Transfer veggies to the baking dish and sprinkle the cheese on top so it melts. Let sit.
-- For the crust - combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and then mix wet to dry.
-- The crust will be very stiff, so take a wet spatula and spread it as evenly as possible over the veggies.
-- Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes at 350. Once done, flip onto a serving tray and serve!

Gazpacho II

It is amazing to me what the lack of humidity does to a "hot" day. I'm visiting the beautiful state of colorado right now and the change from Cleveland's weather is shocking. I honestly forgot how amazing the dry heat is. A 90 degree day literally feels like a 78 degrees with humidity day back in Ohio.

Still, though, a hot day is a hot day, and in my estimation, a hot day needs a cold soup. What better cold soup to make than a realy good Gazpacho? So I looked through my mom's cookbooks and found quite a few that I like. One of them had a Gazpacho recipe that looked worth trying -- so we did, and it was worth it.

Serves 6

  • 4-5 cups cold tomato juice (I just used one of those large cans)
  • 1 small onion - minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper - diced
  • 1 cucumber - diced
  • 2 scallions - chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic - minced
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 2 T wine vinegar
  • 1 t tarragon
  • 1 t basil
  • dash or two of ground cumin
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/4 c fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
-- Combine all ingredients and let chill 2 hours before serving.

Note: I pureed about 1/3 of the soup to give it a better texture. You can puree it all if you want, too, to save you time.