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Tomato

Summer Gazpacho

Summer Gazpacho

 

When it’s hot, I love fresh meals like Gazpacho.

An even added bonus with this cool soup is that.

What is needed? A bunch of ripe tomatoes and whatever else your farmer’s market or garden offers up.

Summer Gazpacho

After a nice walk through the woods, a good girlfriend of mine and I refueled with a large bowl of this, utilizing some heirlooms from her garden.

It came together in no time, thanks to the help of a food processor (you could certainly use a blender) and the natural beauty of this type of soup.

Gazpacho is all about the freshness of its ingredients. It’s simple. And absolutely divine on a steamy summer day.

Summer Gazpacho

Keep the soup as chunky as you desire, or pulse it for a little extra time if you want something creamier than what’s pictured above.

Either way, I recommend serving it with a nice slice of crusty bread to sop up some of its flavorful juices and add an element of crunch.

Summer Gazpacho

And definitely don’t skip out on the avocado topping. This provides the richness that this light soup needs to complete it. In fact, you could even drizzle a little olive oil on top once served up for an added element of richness.

Summer Gazpacho

What are you making to tide you over during these early August days? Would love to hear your favorite recipes of the season!

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Warm Caprese Grain Salad

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

After recently moving to a new neighborhood, my two housemates and I threw a little housewarming BBQ and celebration. Yay!

Tasked with the challenge of making something for a crowd that would be vegetarian, nutritious AND able to rival burgers circulating aromatics from the grill, I settled upon this rendition of caprese.

I taste-tested in advance and gave it two thumbs up. But it was still much to my surprise that the healthy caprese rice ran out before the burgers. Who would’ve guessed?

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

As with a traditional caprese salad, the flavors here are simple but fresh. Good extra virgin olive oil, zesty basil and sweet caramelization from the oven that’s bestowed upon a variety of veggies all make this dish shine. It’s delicate, yet addicting. And makes you feel good even after going in for seconds.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I opted to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add mozzarella or goat cheese. You could also play with the grain combination. Here, I chose to add in some barley with the rice, which lent?a nice and subtle crunchy element.

I also love the texture and flavor contrast created when using both roasted and raw tomatoes. If able, go with two different varieties for each, like sungolds and classic grape tomatoes, for a nice color scheme and added complexity of flavor.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I’m looking forward to more veggie and herb-centric meals in the months to come. Also a shout-out to Mastro Co. for the awesome ceramic bowl that held this veggie-filled goodness!
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Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

If you’re not on the socca train yet, you should grab a ticket this week and get on it. It’s so easy to make, and incredibly tasty in many, many forms.

I’d say socca is akin to pizza crust – only full or protein and nourishment and a little more flavor. Really, you can add any toppings of your desire, including the classic tomato, basil, mozzarella trio that makes a good slice of ‘za. You can get fancy, like in this roasted carrot rendition. Or you can keep it fairly simple like this breakfast version below. And unlike pizza crust, it takes just a handful of minutes to whip up, no rolling pin needed.

Note – if you’re going to grab a ticket for the breakfast route, go for the savory option vs. taking a ride down a sweet socca road. I’ve tried to turn socca batter into blueberry pancakes, and it’s the first time socca’s failed me. Although, I must say, I haven’t totally given up on it in a sweeter form just yet. Future experiments are certainly to be had, and if you find a creation that works, by all means, please share!

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

As far as savory goes, this is a combination that works. Eggs, greens, and the last of summer’s tomatoes get piled onto a warm, nutty socca canvas. You could add a sprinkle of Parm on top, but it doesn’t even need it. If you’re seeking for more, serve it with a side of sweet potato hash, and a steaming cup of coffee. Magic. Continue Reading…

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

Earlier this week, I received an “OMG” message from one of my coworkers, followed by a link to a version of this zucchini noodle recipe. In an instant, it was on my must-make list. I mean, obviously that’s how you treat a recipe that gets sent at 10p.m. with an OMG note written in all caps. Wouldn’t you agree?

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I love the simplicity of this recipe and the seasonality of it. The sauce itself is just a handful of ingredients but is rich in flavor from fresh roasted tomatoes. It’s tangy and gets a nice touch of cream from the cream cheese – but not in an overly rich, alfredo-like way that would for sure overpower delicate zucchini noodles.

Instead, I found the two went quite well together.

Zucchini Noodles

You’ll see this recipe is quite saucy. I added an additional zucchini to the instructions below, but would recommend picking up a baguette as well to sop up its piquant flavors. This will also help to bolster what is naturally a fairly light meal. Add a side salad, and dinner is complete.

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

What are your favorite ways to use zucchini noodles? I’ve enjoyed this recipe, and also peanut sauce variations, but am always looking for new ways to utilize them…especially as I head off to my parent’s house this Sunday, and sneak away with some of their garden’s green glory 😉

Hit me with your best zucchini noodle recipe!

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce

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Eggplant Caprese Sandwich

Eggplant Caprese Sandwich

I recently returned from a mini road trip exploring the beautiful west coast –> Colorado –> Arizona –> Nevada. The adventure was refreshing, filled with mountainous hikes, breathtaking views, wildflowers, and good times with good company. There’s not much more you can ask for from a trip, right?

The journey was also filled with lots of peanut butter & banana sandwiches, whether from the backseat of the car, the peak of a mountain, or on a flat rock sitting at the base while soaking in that crisp, high altitude air. I consumed my weight in bananas and peanut butter, and while I was sad to leave vacation behind, I welcomed with open arms the garden full of tomatoes that welcomed me back home. (Ironically, just two days after landing I found myself eating another PB&B while picnicking at a music festival…I will now be swearing them off for awhile. Tomato sammies from here on out, please.)

With those garden reds, I’ve been whipping up all the summer classics, like tomato and basil salads, fresh salsas, garden omelettes, and caprese sandwiches like the one above. Can you believe that photo was snapped with none other than an iPhone? Just goes to show, tomatoes are so beautiful on their own that they don’t need any fancy equipment or styling to shine. Or to make your stomach rumble. Fresh ingredients make for easy summer culinary dreams, so fortunately the recipe to craft this sandwich is equally as simple as the photo portraying it.

I’ll leave it at that with the recipe to follow, along with a few film and digital snapshots from the trip. Cheers!

Eggplant Caprese Sandwich

Yield: Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 1 med.-lg. eggplant, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 2 lg. ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • Fresh basil, handful
  • Fresh oregano, handful (optional, but recommended)
  • 5 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh Parmesan, to grate on top
  • 6 slices of crusty whole grain bread, toasted
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to season
  • Chili oil, to drizzle (Sample recipe)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Layer eggplant slices on top, and toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Scatter garlic pieces across the eggplant, pressing them into the flesh. Sprinkle salt around the pan to season.
  2. Bake 12 minutes, then flip. When you return the eggplant to the oven, line another baking sheet, and place tomatoes on top. Put in the oven with the eggplant, and cook another 5-8 minutes, or until eggplant are tender. Remove both sheets from the oven.
  3. Drizzle toasted bread with chili oil. While still hot, layer eggplant and tomato on top of 3 of the slices, and add mozzarella to melt. Scatter fresh basil and oregano, and freshly grated parmesan. Place remaining 3 pieces of bread on top to complete the sandwich. Enjoy.
http://foodfitnessfreshair.com/2015/07/26/eggplant-caprese-sandwich/

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