Tag Archives: balsamic

You Say Tomahto…

Summer Tomatoes = Love

Summer Tomatoes = Love

I am finally able to post the Summer Gazpacho Soup recipe here for you.

After yesterday’s debacle, I found myself unable to sleep last night. I think I finally nodded off around 2 am, only to awaken again at 5. It was not the best way to start the day. However, I am pleased to report my caffeine induced nightmare is behind me and although somewhat sleep deprived, I am no worse for wear. I did refrain from coffee today though, and I am heeding my father in-law’s advice and having some red wine tonight!

Tomorrow’s post will take me down memory lane, and I’ll be writing about my early thoughts of food and how the comfort of familiar dishes can get us all through some bleak moments. For now, let us continue to enjoy the present and all its great summer flavors.

Mise en place for Gazpacho

Mise en place for Gazpacho

The key to this recipe is using the most gorgeous summer vegetables and herbs. Since this soup is cold and never cooked over heat where flavors can meld and intensify, I recommend you store this soup in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. This batch improved greatly after a couple days of chill time.

Also, feel free to substitute cilantro for either parsley, basil or dill if you prefer. The vinegars can be traded out as well, balsamic or red wine, sherry or apple cider. I do find the acid of a Spanish Sherry Wine Vinegar is just perfect for this dish but honestly, use what’s in your pantry! As for the chile; if you like it, use it. If your palate is sensitive to heat, the soup will be lovely without it.

This is a peasant and rustic soup which is why I didn’t strain the finished product. I actually quite like the bits and flecks of color and textures swimming in my bowl. Also I figured the fiber alone from all the vegetables warrant leaving it as is.

Thanks to my brother and sister in-law’s lovely birthday gift this year, I whipped up this soup in 10 minutes flat. Cuisinarts and food loving family rule!

Chillin’ Summer Gazpacho Makes about 8 cups

Let your food processor do the work for you – a large rough chop of all vegetables are fine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 english cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small or 1/2 large spanish onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar, or vinegar of your choice
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Sixty Seconds to Soup

Sixty Seconds to Soup

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in food processor and mix until smooth and blended. Taste for seasoning. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours, up to 5 days. Adjust seasoning as needed before serving.

If desired, finish each bowl with a spoon of plain yogurt, some sliced avocado and chopped chives or your favorite herbs.

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We’re Jammin’…

Slice berries produce a chunky jam - yumba!

Sliced berries produce a chunky jam - yumba!

Yesterday, I posted my latest trial recipe and I am happy to report an A+! The abundant pints of fruit in my fridge were transformed into my latest recipe, a Summer Strawberry Jam.

This jam is not a day’s work – no sterilizing of jars, no fruit pectin needed, no water bath. After chopping the fruit and combining it with sugar and balsamic vinegar, I had a lovely mixture cooking away on the stove while I did other things. My only regret is not making a double batch.

The recipe is very easy and produces great results. I would only recommend using the best summer berries. Frozen is great in the winter, but since this recipe is so minimal, high quality fruit is key.

Toast + Summer Jam = Love

Toast + Summer Jam = Love

As I mentioned, fruit pectin is not used, so this jam is not as gelatinous as other recipes, but the consistency is thick enough that it spread wonderfully on my toast this morning.

I think this jam would also be fabulous stirred into oatmeal, yogurt or cottage cheese, excellent as a dessert over cake or ice cream, and lavished on biscuits or scones.

I’m already excited about breakfast tomorrow!

Summerlicious  Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh stawberries, sliced (about 2 full pints)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Strawberries, meet sugar, balsamic & fire!

Strawberries, meet sugar, balsamic & fire!

In a medium sauce pan, add all the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and cook until thickened and reduced slightly to a consistency similar to honey, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let jam cool slightly, still stirring occasionally.

We're Jammin'... ah yeah we're jammin, we're jammin...

This is what the jam should look like after additional cooling and stirring.

Once the jam is cooled completely, transfer to refrigerator and chill overnight.

This jam will continue to thicken once refrigerated 8-12 hours. Jam can be stored in small jam jars or airtight containers and refrigerated  for 3-4 weeks.