Friday, July 22, 2011

What To "Cook" For Dinner When It's Freakin' 100°?

There's a rule in my house. When it's hotter than hades, the oven stays off. Grilling only or cold meals will suffice, thank you very much. Since we are enjoying a prolonged heat wave in the Boston area right now, I thought I would share my favorite cold dinner.....gazpacho! It's the quintessential summer meal.

I use a modified version of the Moosewood Cookbook recipe.



4 c. cold tomato juice
1 small, well minced onion (I use Vidalia sweet onion)
2 c. diced tomatoes (I like multi-colored cherry tomatoes for their sweetness and color)
1 c. minced yellow or orange pepper
1 diced cucumber
2 chopped scallions
juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 lime
2 T wine vinegar
1 t. honey
1 clove garlic crushed (I sometimes skip this)
dash of cumin
dash of tabasco
2 T good quality olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
several handfuls of chopped fresh herbs: basil (I use sweet, purple, lemon and Thai), tarragon, dill, cilantro, chives, parsley, lemon balm, etc.

Combine all ingredients and chill for at least 2 hours. I love this soup because it's chunky!

Top with home-made bruschetta or croutons if you'd like. I also often top with low-fat sour cream and fresh herbs and Johnny Jump-Up flowers on top....yum!

For a delicious bruschetta to serve with this gazpacho, take a loaf of country peasant bread and slice into 1" slices. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on a hot grill and grill both sides, being careful not the burn the bread (it will grill quickly!). Remove bread from grill, and spread with goat cheese. Sprinkle the tops with a mixture of finely chopped herbs (dill, cilantro, basil, chives, lemon balm, etc). Drizzle again with a bit of olive oil and S/P, then serve with the soup.

Stay cool!