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A Taste of Summer

We are suppossed to hit 90 degrees tomorrow. It is the beginning of April. In spite of this, the rustic little building we call home is still running the heat and we need to run the air conditioner already. So I didn’t expect to have to roll out my favorite summer recipe quite yet, but clearly I’m left with no choice.

When I was younger, the concept of gazpacho baffled me. It was featured in a restaurant I worked at in high school and I could barely stand to serve it during those warm months. I just didn’t get it. Two years ago, I actually tried it. Man, I was wrong. Turns out gazpacho is very good.

Our favorite little place in the city – Cafe Lutecia – makes the best gazpacho in the world. We order it all summer long and fawn over that big bowl of cold soup like we are never coming back. Of course, we go back every week….

Last summer, I decided to make my own gazpacho. It quickly became a staple over those hot months. The best part – you can eat bowls and bowls of it and it is very good for you. The worst part – I prefer mine with a 1/2 baguette. It really is the best way to eat it.

So tonight – in honor of “Summer in April” – I made a big ol batch of gazpacho for us to enjoy in our tropical apartment. And to ensure I wouldn’t have to cook for the rest of the week I threw a pasta salad into the mix. Yes, that means I’ll skip the baguette….

This meal works great as a picnic too so feel free to pack it up and take on the road.

Note: I have an average-sized food processor and needed to repeat the directions below 3-4 times to make one nice big pot of gazpacho. But it is worth the effort when you are done. Enjoy!

Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers, diced
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime

Directions

In large glass bowl combine vegetables. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add half the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Combine puree with original mixture. Chill for 4 hours and serve.

Whole-wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese (Adapted from Ellie Krieger)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat rotini pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces or halves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt  

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, rinse it under cold water, and put it in the refrigerator to chill.

In a dry saute pan, toast the walnuts over a medium-high flame until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set the walnuts aside to cool then chop them coarsely.

In a large bowl, toss together the chilled pasta, walnuts, feta cheese, and spinach. In a small bowl whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and red pepper, to taste.

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. I LOVE gazpacho and this recipe looks really great. I live in Spain, and here we tend to make it some olive oil, stale bread, and then blend it up so that it’s very smooth. It’s drunk here rather than eaten with a spoon and is totally scrumptious. But the chunky stuff is good, too! I like a bit of fruit in it.

    April 7, 2010

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