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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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Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

One of my favorite dishes this time of year is a fresh sauce filled with all of the garden’s golden ingredients. Summer sauce always tastes a little sweeter, with herbs that cut through the acidity with a touch more confidence, and veggies that add texture you just can’t find in supermarket sauces. It’s comfort meets clean eating at its best.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

Summer sauce needn’t be a recipe reserved solely for pasta, and in fact, I find sometimes I prefer it elsewhere. Like on sautéed and buttered zucchini noodles or a crusty slice of sourdough scattered with feta and basil.

Yet, used to simmer fresh-from-the-farm eggs undoubtedly ranks at the top of my preferential usage list. This is a breakfast – and sometimes lunch and dinner – I will reach for whenever the ingredients present themselves.

Luckily, it’s August, so that means this is showing up in my skillet quite often.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

This particular version is similar to a shakshouka, but with the inclusion of some extra garden power from grated zucchini. That being said, it’s not quite as delicate and sweet as traditional shakshouka, but it’s certainly as fresh and possibly slightly more flavorful. Feel free to vary it given the veggies you might have on hand. I’ve also kept this version on the chunky side, but you could certainly give it a pulse in the blender or food processor to go saucier. If you have super fresh/local ingredients though, I might advise against this.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

Be sure to keep an eye on the eggs once you crack them in. They can go from an over-easy yolk to a solid state in a flash as they near that final finishing point.

When they do get to that resting state you love, remove your eggs and sauce from the heat and plate it on up. I like to add blue corn tortilla chips for a nice texture and color contrast, sometimes crunching the chips straight on top of my eggs. You could also pair this with your favorite bread to sop up all the juices.

Cheers to doing summer breakfast right.

Eggs Simmered in Fresh Summer Sauce

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Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens TapenadeKristen Miglore and Merrill Stubbs of the Food52 crew swung through Philadelphia a couple weeks ago to promote their newest book, Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. 

My friend and fellow Philly food blogger, Emily, and I jumped at the opportunity, of course, to go hear them speak. And afterwards, we gushed over the ten trillion genius recipes we had to recreate from the book.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

This was spun off of one of those recipes, the famous Food52 posted “Broccoli Cooked Forever” from Chef Roy Finamore. It was a strange-sounding idea that involved cooking broccoli for, well, forever (2 hours) and adding in a bunch of olive oil and anchovies. Sounds…errr…kinda gross, right? Yeah, that was my thought, too.

Yet, the ladies from Food52, a food site I absolutely adore, were raving about this creation. So much so that they’ve bestowed it with the title of “genius”. The commenters on the online version of the recipe, (it can be found in the cookbook as well), were raving about it too. Naturally, I was intrigued and had to try it for myself.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

Intrigued — but with no available broccoli in my house. Yet, vested with a TON of tough summer greens growing in my garden. And so began the birth of this recipe, which I might have to label as an unforeseen amazement…if not downright ingenious.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

What better way to beat late season toughness out of greens than to cook them forever? Okay, so in my version, I only make you sit through 60 minutes of cooking time because, let’s be real, while broccoli might reach the consistency of butter, collard greens aren’t ever going to get there. They will, however, reach a buttery, super tender texture, which can be achieved within just an hour of simmer time. Voila.

Placed on top of crusty bread with a grating of fresh Parm and a few chopped tomatoes to cut the richness of the olive oil, I think this may have become my new greens go-to. I’ll definitely be making this dish again soon.

Trust me, it may sound a little strange,but I promise, it’s…brilliant!(?)

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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.
https://foodfitnessfreshair.com/2015/07/26/eggplant-caprese-sandwich/

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Beet Soup with Tahini and Pine Nut Za’atar

Beet Soup with Tahini and Pine Nut Za’atar

Does soup get any more gorgeous than this? I knew immediately after seeing this on Dishing Up the Dirt that I needed to whip up this vibrant creation for my own spoon and bowl.

Beets always yield such beauty.

Beets

Beets really do lend themselves well to easily dazzling up a dinner. Here are a few past favorites that deck out the kitchen table in red: Pickled Beets, Smoky Black Bean and Beet Burgers with Herb Yogurt Sauce, Purple Summer Tabbouleh.

I’m adding this soup to the list.

Beet Soup with Tahini and Pine Nut Za’atar

Beyond feeling decadent from pure looks alone, this soup has a nice earthy flavor that gets complimented by some rather stellar toppings. First, there’s the tahini. You can almost always count me in for tahini-topped anything, and it’s creamy combination with beets is no different. This particular sauce adds a slight lemony-tang to the sweet beets, and is absolutely perfect with the specks of parsley you’ll catch on most bites. Feel free to omit the allspice from the sauce – it’ll add subtle, but not mandatory, notes of flavor.

Beets

Then, there’s the za’atar, a traditional Middle Eastern herb and spice blend that is speckled with sesame seeds. Toasted in a pan with pine nuts, it takes on this woodsy flavor that’s hard to describe as anything but unique. Here, it adds an easy punch of flavor that allows this soup to remain simple to make, and to rely on the freshness of its garden ingredients.

Beet Soup with Tahini and Pine Nut Za’atar

But enough words already. Likely, if you’re going to make this soup, it was its visual representation that snagged your eye. Bring its beauty to your own bowl, might I suggest alongside a crusty, toasty slice of bread.

Beets

P.S. Stop by Andrea’s blog, Dishing Up the Dirt, if you get the chance. It’s a winner.

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