Wednesday, June 20, 2012

HUMP DAY? TRY HOT DAY!!!


Wow, Mother Nature must be furious...first an unusually mild winter and now hot, sticky summer has arrived with a big, boiling smack!  Hopefully you took some of my advice yesterday and prepared for the worst she might bring us, because you never know when Momma Nature will bare her ugly teeth and show us what she's made of.  Just in case she does, though, I've made a few things of my own to survive it all.  Here are two of my favorite hot-weather treats: frozen fruit and Gazpacho soup!!
FRUIT OF THE LOOM: I bought a delicious watermelon yesterday and pineapple, grapes and cantaloupe.  I chopped the pineapple and used a melon-baller to scoop the watermelon and cantaloupe into fine little balls, then placed them all with the grapes in our freezer.  Today we have delicious, refreshing fruit-sicles!
OHHHHH GAZPACHOOOOOO!  Quite possibly one of my favorite summertime soups, Gazpacho (served cold) is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to stay cool, refreshed and healthy.  While my mothers recipe is the best I've had, I can't find it now, so will resort to number two; Cooks Illustrated New Best Recipe cookbook. Here's what you'll need:
3 medium, ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) diced
2 medium red bell peppers (about 1 pound) cored, seeded and diced
2 small cucumbers (about 1 pound), peel one and leave skin on the other, both seeded and diced
1/2 small sweet onion (like Vidalia, Maui or Walla Walla) or two large shallots minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed in garlic press
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
Ground Black Pepper (to taste...see below)
5 Cups tomato juice (this recipe prefers Welch's)
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)

Combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, garlic, salt, vinegar and black pepper to taste in a large (at least 4 quart) nonreactive bowl.  Let stand until the vegetables just begin to release their juices, about five minutes.  Stir in the tomato juice, hot pepper sauce (if using).  Cover tightly and refrigerate to blend the flavors (at least 4 hours). Serve cold with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.