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

Gaby Inspired Pan-Roasted Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/3c. olive oil
  • 1.5 lb. baby eggplant (Japanese or Baby variety), sliced in half lenghthwise and diced into 2-3 inch pieces if Japanese and larger variety of eggplant
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette-
    • 2 T. lemon joice
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 c. grated Pecorino (or your favorite hard cheese. I like Spanish Manchego)
    • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Process

  1. Make your vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant and turn often for about 15 minutes. Add more oil if eggplant starts to burn- you want it to caramelize.
  3. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl and toss with (more oil!) about half of the vinaigrette.
  4. Save the rest of the vinaigrette for your salad.
  5. Sprinkle with more Pecorino if desired and serve.

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!

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

 
I recently went blueberry picking for the first time while visiting my sister and her family in VT over the summer.  We stumbled upon the Organic Sunshine Valley Berry Farm right off the Vermont Route 100.  They gave us  a blue bucket and pointed us to the rows of blueberries just ripe and ready for picking.

You may not know this but blueberries have several health benefits along with being a tasty treat.  They boost memory, support heart health and are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and fiber.  That little adventure to the Berry Farm inspired me to share one of my favorite pizza recipes that boasts beautiful and sweet blueberries.  This savory pizza is oh so good!  I often make it for special occasions during blueberry season because it both pretty and tasty.  But don’t feel you have to reserve it for just special times – It’s easy, has just a handful of ingredients, and is delicious too.

Blueberry, Feta and Carmelized Onion Flatbread

DFTSI Blueberry Feta and Onion PizzaIMG_3771

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • kosher salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • micro  greens or baby arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the naan/flatbread on the baking sheet and lightly spray or brush with water. Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt to taste and red pepper flakes. Cook the onions until it is wilted, about 3-5 minutes and stir in the honey, and continue to cook a fe more minutes letting the onions caramelize. Remove from heat.
  • While the onions cook, stir the ricotta and feta cheese in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta mixture over the naan/flatbread, and top with the honey caramelized onions. Sprinkle the blueberries on top.
  • Place the naan pizzas into the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the blueberries are just about ready to burst, the cheese has softened, and the naan is toasted. Remove from oven, cut into squares or slices, sprinkle with arugula and enjoy immediately.
 
 

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

IMG_9342

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.

IMG_9338

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.

IMG_9340

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

Spicy Southwestern Salad

img_8109

spicy southwestern salad with avocado dressing


  • creds: pinch of yum
  • prep time: 15 mins
  • cook time: 20 mins
  • total time: 35 minutes
  • yield: 4 large salads

DESCRIPTION

This easy to prepare Spicy Southwestern Salad recipe has roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, lettuce, and creamy avocado dressing!


INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SALAD

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon each cumin and chili powder (plus a sprinkle of cayenne if you like it hot)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado (optional)
  • 1/2 a head of romaine lettuce, chopped

FOR THE CILANTRO DRESSING:

  • half an avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a squeeze of lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Mix the olive oil, cumin, and chili powder together in a small bowl. Brush mixture on sweet potatoes. Roast for 10 minutes. Stir or shake the pan. Turn heat up to 425, and roast for another 10-15 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be just barely roasty-brown on the outside.  cook another minute or two if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth.
  3. Toss the beans, corn, lettuce, and sweet potatoes with the dressing. Serve with the other half of the avocado!

img_8108

Roasted Red Peppers with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8-12 baby red bell peppers (or a combination of red, yellow and orange)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons prepared pesto (I love using Kirklands from Costco)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 ounces goat cheese
  • fresh oregano (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice mini bell peppers in half and remove stem and seeds. Place in a large bowl (or large ziplock bag) and toss with pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar until peppers are completely covered.
  3. Line up peppers on a baking sheet and place into oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Take peppers out and carefully add crumbled goat cheese to insides of pepper halves.
  5. Place back into oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until goat cheese is melted.
  6. Optional: sprinkle chopped fresh oregano over peppers before serving.
  • Psst!  You can marinate and place peppers on a foil lined tray up to the night before if you want to shorten the preparation time right before serving.

Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad with Roasted VegtablesOrzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables

 

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 32 oz. Chicken Broth
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Finishing touches:
  • 4 green onions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. combine the chopped eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

While vegetables are cooking, bring salted chicken broth to a boil in a medium pot . Add orzo and  cook for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

IMG_2521

For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate.

Just before serving, add the green onions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Can be served at room temperature or refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Note: I adapted this delicious side dish recipe from Ina Garten.  I originally found it in my now dog-eared Barefoot Contessa Parties! recipe book.  I love almost every recipe in this publication.  Thank you Ina!

Psst! You can boil the orzo in water instead of chicken broth if you want to go vegetarian.

Homemade Yogurt Sauce / Tzatziki

Homemade Tzatziki
Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions: 

Wash produce (lemon and cucumber)

Grate the cucumber and squeeze out as much liquid as you can and set aside. This prevents your yogurt sauce from being to runny and watered down)

Cut 1/2 lemon into quarters

In a medium bowl, combine the drained cucumber, yogurt and the juice of 2 lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow flavors to mix.

Try it with Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, Curry Spiced Chicken Thighs, or Ras El Hanout Chicken Breasts below.

autumn gingerbread cakeletsCurry-Spiced ChickenChicken and tabouleh