Tag Archives: Cucumber

A Chilled Soup To Beat The Heat: Gazpacho

Here is another inspiration from our cruise a few weeks ago: Gazpacho, a delicious chilled soup that is refreshing and requires no cooking! Even at our 7,500 foot elevation, we have seen temperatures in the 90’s and the daytime temperature inside the house has reached 85 degrees! We don’t have air-conditioning so as soon as the sun wanes we open all our doors and windows to capture some of the cool air. This is the perfect recipe to help cool things off. Gazpacho hails from Spain and is made with uncooked tomatoes, cucumber, sweet onion, bell pepper, garlic and cilantro. Tomatoes are the star ingredient, a great use for the delicious summer bounty from your garden or farmer’s market. Out of season, my favorite go-to is the vine-ripened variety. This is a super easy recipe that can be made with many variations: for example, if you don’t have cherry tomatoes add some of your favorite Bloody Mary mix!

I like my gazpacho more pureed and smooth rather than chunky, and then I add a chopped vegetable garnish at the end for a little crunch.  And I like to peel the cucumbers because they make the soup darker, which you can see from the photo because I forgot to do that!  The garnish has scallions, radishes, habanero and mint, which adds a bright, fresh flavor. The soup also tastes better if made one or two days ahead of time because it allows the flavors to develop and mingle. Another delicious idea: serve the gazpacho in a shot glass for a mini appetizer – top it with some vegetable garnish and add some chopped, cooked shrimp or some diced avocado to finish it off.

If you want to go for a snazzy presentation to impress your honey (or guests), transfer the soup to a fancy pitcher, add one tablespoon of the garnish to the bottom of each cup or bowl and pour the gazpacho table-side.  You’ll look like a pro!

Eat well and share the love!

Gazpacho (print recipe)
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Refrigerate: 4 to 24 hours / Total cooking time: 24 hours
Makes about 2 cups

10 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (Campari), or 3 large, good quality tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes (about 15)
½ cucumber, peeled and chopped
¼ cup chopped sweet onion
3 baby bell peppers (or ½ of one red, yellow or orange bell pepper), seeds removed and chopped
½ small garlic clove
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon lime zest
½ cup cilantro leaves and stems
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion (about ¾ of a scallion)
1 radish, grated
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon finely diced habanero or jalapeno
3 tablespoons finely diced cucumber (peeled)
1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
Pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzle)

Soup: Cut the tomatoes (except the cherry tomatoes) in half and remove the seeds and pulp with a spoon; discard seeds and pulp. Chop the tomatoes into large pieces.

Add all the soup ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and finely chopped, about 1 minute.  If you like your soup more chunky, blend for less time.

Transfer soup to a bowl or large measuring cup and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight. 
Gazpacho is best the next day; if possible make one day ahead to let the flavors develop fully.

Garnish: Add the scallions, radishes, habanero, cucumber, mint, salt, pepper and olive oil to a small bowl and mix well.

Assemble: Serve soup cold – In a small coffee cup or bowl add about 3/4 cup of soup, top with 1 tablespoon of garnish mixture and a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

A photo memory from the cruise a few weeks ago…..After the zipline in Jamaica, in Chakka Park and enjoying authentic Jerk chicken for lunch.  The male peacock, with his wings spread, tried his best to get the female’s attention while we watched from the picnic bench. 


Treat Yourself: Drink Lots of Water

I have been depriving myself for no good reason, that’s what I realized the other day.  Adding fruit to my water is something that’s usually reserved for summertime and I am declaring it should be a winter ritual as well.  It may seem ordinary to talk about drinking some water, but why not make it fun since we need 8 glasses for the recommended daily amount?   When we drink enough water we feel better, our skin looks more radiant and we are deeply nourished.  The simple act of adding some thinly sliced cucumber or even a lemon wedge to my water glass makes me happy.  It somehow feels like I am drinking something special and I usually go for refills.  A bonus: the fruit offers some minerals and vitamins and gives you a small nutritional boost.  For a simple treat, make a pitcher of water with sliced fruit – see my favorites below – and keep it in the refrigerator to quench your thirst all day long.  Or if you are hosting a party, set out a large pitcher along with plenty of glasses so your guests can help themselves.

Here are some favorite ways to dress up my water glass any time of the year.  For best flavor, give the citrus slices a gentle squeeze over the water and drop them in:

Cucumber:  Make the slices interesting by running a zester or vegetable peeler (cut 4 strips) about an inch down the sides before cutting.  (Actually a fruit – source of Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc and Vitamins A, C, E & K)

Grapefruit: not your usual suspect for water – imparts a refreshing citrus flavor. (Source of Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and Vitamins A, B6, C & E)

Orange & Lemon: Bright, citrus flavors – not to mention a beautiful combination of colors.   (Oranges – source of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and Vitamins A, B6 & C)

Lemon & Mint: a classic, refreshing combination – make the day of, if left overnight the lemons can become overpowering and tangy.  (Lemons – source of Potassium and Vitamins B6, C & E)

All nutritional information from USDA website – national nutrient database for standard reference

How do you make your water routine more interesting?

Eat well and share the love!

Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy: A close up of the water surface, with coins at the bottom.