off to brazil? for rice?

off to brazil? for rice?

Hello and welcome. Ready to take a closer look at another of Great-Aunt Helen’s recipes? How about a side dish this go-round? This was an easy one and it turned out well.There was a bit of ambiguity here, per usual. … Continue reading

summer (and veggies) in a bowl

I’m a huge fan of the local paper’s food section. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has won awards for its weekly Taste section and I rely on it for updates on the local food scene as well as the occasional recipe I want to try. Even when out of town, I ask friends or family to pick me up a copy of the Thursday Taste as I’m obsessive enough that I don’t want to miss an issue. (Yes,  I could get it all online as well; but, it’s just not the same. I like my hard copy reads.)

With a counter-top full of garden tomatoes (some ours, some gifts from friends), a gazpacho recipe found in a recent Taste was a must-make. Besides the tomatoes, the recipe also contained garlic (which I doubled), onion (though I used red instead of sweet), bell pepper, and cucumber–all veggies I had on hand. The soup was pureed, which also appealed as I love to use my immersion blender. The article, by food writer Meredith Deeds, hailed the recipe as one she uses to convince her kids to eat veggies. I was not so successful as neither girl (ages 10 and 6) had any interest in eating pureed tomatoes, even after their obligatory taste. And while my husband had a bowl, he wasn’t a big fan.

But I loved it. A quick garnish of a small pile of chilled smoked salmon and a sprinkle of roasted kale nudged my bowl of red into the “this is heaven” category. With all of the raw veggies in my bowl (as well as a touch of olive oil, which make the antioxidants in the tomatoes more easily absorbed), it couldn’t be any more good-for-you. I hope to eventually get my family on board as well, but even if no, I’ll continue to make this gorgeous soup whenever I have an abundance of fresh summer veggies. It’s a keeper.

lovely gazpacho topped with smoked salmon and served alongside roasted summer veggies

Lovely Summer Gazpacho

Adapted from a recipe by Meredith Deeds, veteran cookbook author who co-wrote 300 Sensational Soups.

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, flaked

In large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and garlic, vinegar and oil. Puree with immersion blender. (Or combine and puree in traditional blender.)  Refrigerate, covered, until chilled. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly among serving bowls. Top each serving with salmon. Makes 4 servings.

an awesome burger

I do 99% of the meal prep in our house, if only because I like to be in charge of what we eat. When I’m grocery shopping and making breakfast, lunch, and supper, I can make the meals I enjoy and feel good about putting on the table.

But sometimes I wonder if I should back off and let my hubby do some of the cooking. He’s a decent cook and while not as adventurous and health-driven as I (raised on meat-and-potatoes he was), can still pull off a great meal. His latest: Tomato-Topped Burgers.

Yesterday, I returned home from a long bike ride just after noon. Realizing what time it was on the ride, I’d made mental plans to quickly pull together turkey sandwiches with sliced garden tomatoes and sides of carrot and cucumber sticks and watermelon slices once home. But opening our front door, I was greeted with an amazing waft of savory. Hubby was grilling burgers.

My daughters and I agree that his burgers are the best. They’re seasoned with salt, pepper, and a brush-on marinade he picked up from his mom. (Measurements are never taken, but it’s a glug or so each of soy sauce, red wine, and Worcestershire mixed with a dash of garlic powder or salt.) Not only had he grilled his fantastic burgers, but he’d covered each patty with a thick slice of a just-picked tomato while they grilled. The juices from the tomatoes kept the lean burgers moist and the tomatoes themselves cooked down slightly, rendering them extra tender and even more richly flavored. The texture and flavor combo was brilliant.

I was impressed with the difference that the simple addition of a tomato slice made. The burgers were awesome and made me think that maybe I should let hubby do more of the meal prep. Even though I love being in charge in the kitchen, it was a great pleasure to be treated to an amazing meal.