Watermelon Gaspacho

I love this tangy and refreshing soup in the summer! You can serve it as a light lunch or serve it as an appetizer at your next summer BBQ. This is my version of the recipe I recently found in The NY Times from Chef Brian Streeter at Cakebread Cellers. Here it is!

Serves 8 (or 12 if appetizer portions)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped*

3 cups watermelon, cut in 1 inch cubes

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/2 large red pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 bulb fennel, coarsely chopped

1/4 – 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

2 T. Extra virgin Olive Oil

3 T sherry vinegar, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 T finely diced watermelon (optional for garnish)

PROCESS

  1. To make tomatoes easy to peel, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes to create an ice bath while water boils. Make a small X with a sharp knife in the bottom of the tomatoes just enough to penetrate the skin. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and place in the ice bath. You can now easily peel the tomatoes. Next, seed and coarsely chopped them and place in a large bowl. Place all the other fruits and vegetables in the large bowl together.
  2. In a blender, in batches, puree all the ingredients except the last two ingredients (salt and watermelon garnish). add a little bit of ice water (about 1 cup) to achieve a soup-like consistency. Season with salt, taste and add a little more vinegar if necessary. Chill Thoroughly.
  3. Divide the soup among eight cold bowls or 12 small appetizer cups. Garnish each serving with a spoonful f diced watermelon. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired and serve.

3 Step Lentil Soup

What could be better than an easy and savory soup that’s chock full of vitamins and nutrients? It’s low in fat and high in fiber and protein too. Sometimes I modify this recipe and toss in a handful of cherry tomatoes while cutting in half the amount of crushed tomatoes. I make up a large batch and store it in the fridge for a quick but satisfying meal during the week. It also freezes well.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 T fresh)
  • 2 cups dry lentils (I like red)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Step 1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Step 2. Stir in lentils*, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until lentils are tender, at least one hour.
  • Step 3. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper; taste and adjust as needed.

* Don’t forget to rinse the lentils well before placing in the pot as this removes some of the indigestible sugars that can cause you to feel bloated and gassy and also removes any dirt or debris.

Nutrition Facts 

Per Serving:

Lentil Soup Nutritional Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 8
Calories: 349

% Daily Value *

Protein: 18.3g 37 %

Carbohydrates: 48.2g. 16 %

Dietary Fiber: 22.2g. 89 %

Sugars: 3.3g 

Fat: 10g 15 %

Saturated Fat: 1.4g 7 %

Vitamin A 85 %

Niacin Equivalents: 5.7mg 44 %

Vitamin B6: 0.5mg 33 %

Vitamin C: 13.3mg 22 %

Folate: 333.7mcg. 83 %

Calcium: 98.1mg 10 %

Iron: 6.2mg 34 %

Magnesium: 104.4mg 37 %

Potassium: 969.5mg 27 %

Sodium: 130.5mg. 5 %

Thiamin: 0.4mg 39 %

Calories From Fat: 90.1

Thai Marinated Cucumber Salad

This sweet and tangy salad is a perfect side dish all year around.  It is super easy to make and the flavors get even more delicious as it marinates.  Allowing it to marinate at least 10 minutes is key.  If possible, allow it to marinate over night as I think it is even better the 2nd day. 

 Makes: 4 Servings

Time: 20 minutes to overnight

  Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 2-inch Piece Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Small Bunch of Thai Basil (optional)

Instructions

1.Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  Trim off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise and then again so that the cucumbers are spears.  Then cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion; place in a small bowl with the vinegar and set aside.

2. Assemble & marinate the cucumber salad:

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger, and as much of the onion-vinegar mixture as you’d like. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

3. Finish & serve your dish:

Transfer the marinated cucumber salad to a serving dish; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pick the Thai basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves and add to the salad just before serving.  Enjoy!

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

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This colorful side dish is packed with flavor and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored, broken into large florets, florets sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 onion, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven, line baking pan with foil: Pre-heat oven to 425°F with a rack on the top third of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking with foil.

2. Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, oil, curry, cinnamon, salt: Put the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously until well combined.

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3. Coat floret slices with curry mixture:  Add the cauliflower and onion slices to the bowl with the curry and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower and onion slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.

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4. Roast in oven: Roast in oven at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes until well browned. Check halfway through the cooking, and rotate the pan for more even cooking.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Source: Simply Recipes

Cherry Berry Vanilla Almond Granola

DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1095

You can customize this granola according to your preferences by adding in any sort of dried fruit or using different nuts in the recipe. I stumbled upon this gluten free recipe by Michelle Palin ~ My Gluten-free Kitchen and it soon became my favorite.
I recently made 12 batches of it to include in Valentines Day Care Packages sent to our graduated NCL Ticktockers that are away at college.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups gluten-free oats (rolled or old-fashioned, NOT instant)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil (or melted unsalted butter or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut – optional (I like wide sliced coconut from Sprouts)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit – optional (I like Dried Berry Medley from Trader Joe’s)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan (about 10.5″x15.5″) with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1078
  3. In a large bowl, use a spatula to stir together oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1073
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter or oil, honey and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring constantly with a whisk to get the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to come together. Once it comes together and simmers about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Whisk in the pure vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the hot liquid mixture over the oat mixture in the bowl. Stir well with a large spatula or wooden spoon. Spread granola on prepared jelly roll pan. Bake at 300° until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Once or twice during the baking time, pull out and stir well and put back in for the remainder of the baking.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1054
  6. Transfer pan to a rack; If you want to add in dried fruit, add it now. Cool granola completely. If you want smaller chunks, stir several times while it cools so that it doesn’t harden into large chunks. If you want to add in mini chocolate chips, add them now after it has cooled completely.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1089-1
  7. When cooled, use your hands to break apart to the size you want and store in an airtight container.

by Michelle Palin ~ My Gluten-free Kitchen

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

DFTSI Roasted Cherry Tomatoes_5709Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I love roasted vegetables! It seams to bring out the sweetness and also carmelizes the outside.  These roasted tomatoes are super easy and delicious too.  You can easily double or triple the recipe if you are serving more people.

Serving: 2
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 15-20 minutes
Total Time 20-25 minutes

Ingredients
1 pint cherry tomatoes (Try the heirloom tomatoes if you like a variety of colors)
1-2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
4-5 large basil leaves cut into chiffonade (with scissors)

Instructions
1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread the tomatoes  on a cooking sheet with an edge (or jelly roll pan) lined with foil
3. Sprinkle with the olive oil and toss the tomatoes gently.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the fresh basil and a little more salt to taste.

Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Easy Peasy Roasted Green Beans

2-4 servings
Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash green beans, snap off the ends and place on a foil-lined pan.
Add olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to the beans, toss gently and spread out on the pan.
Place in oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until crisp and tender.

Roasted Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

Yield: 2-4 servings
Time :30 minutes

Ingredients:

I head of cauliflower, cut into florets
¾ tsp Ras El Hanout* (spice mix from WILLIAM-SONOMA or make your own (recipe below)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch of chili pepper flakes

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets and place in a medium bowl
  2. Add Ras El Hanout, chili peper flakes and olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Spread onto a foil lined jelly roll pan or baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  4. Roast, tossing occasionally 20-30 minutes (cook 5 minutes longer if you like it more tender).
  5. Place in a serving dish and enjoy with your favorite chicken or fish dish.

DFTSI Morocan Spiced Cauliflower_5650

Home-made Ras El Hanout*

You can make your own Ras El Hanout if you make Moroccan food often. If not, simply buy pre-mixed spices. I like the one from William–Sonoma.

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Spiced Lentils & Collard Greens

img_1843Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup black lentils
1 bunch of collared greens
1 yellow onion
1 lemon (including 2 tsp of lemon zest)
2 tsp. Ras El Hanout ( I like the one from William Sonoma)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Cook the lentils:
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. (discard any pebbles you see in the lentils;   Rinse the lentils and drain thoroughly. Add the lentils to the pot of boiling water and cook, uncovered, 24 to 26 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

4. Prepare the ingredients:
While the lentils cook, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the onion.
Remove and throw out the collard green stems and roughly chop the leaves.   Use a zester to get 2 tsps. of lemon zest from the lemon.  Cut the lemon in  quarters and take out the seeds.

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3. Cook the collard greens:
While the lentils continue to cook, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and ras el hanout; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the collard greens; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Add ½ cup of water and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the collard greens have wilted and the water has cooked off. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Finish the lentils & plate your dish:
To the pot of cooked lentils, add the cooked collard greens, lemon zest and the juice of 2 lemon wedges (just 1/2 of the lemon); stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with your favorite fish or chicken dish.

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

img_7430Savory Sweet Potato Fries

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
2 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme (rough chopped)

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Wash and prepare the fresh ingredients:
– Cut the sweet potatoes in 3rds and then cut each “wheel” in 8ths to make wedges
– Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves.
– Chop the fresh thyme.
3. Prepare the Fries:
– Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat the potatoes.
– Place the potato wedges on a Teflon coated jelly roll pan (or lightly greased cookie sheet) and spread in one layer on the pan.
4.Cook the Fries:
Cook for 20 -25 minutes on until nicely browned turning once with a spatula after about 10 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!