Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ah....Summer! In which I Whine, then get to some recipes: Gazpacho!

* This is a long post, to make up for all the months of zilcho.
My new diet of eliminating trigger foods for cluster headaches has really put a damper on my cooking joie de vivre. I have eliminated all things soy, which includes tofu of course, but also soybean oil and soy flour which is in just about anything you buy from the store. One week I mixed Kashi Go Lean in with my Kashi Autumn Wheat just not thinking, and duh, there are whole soy flakes in it. After three days, sure enough, bam, a headache.

The saddest thing for me was having to give up yogurt.  I had Greek yogurt every morning, and I especially loved Skyr from the local Gammelgarden Dairy, so it was the first thing I reintroduced. I seriously was close to tears when it brought on a headache. Nothing aged or cultured. No beer or wine. No chocolate. I've already gone on about no cheese. I don't want to cry a river, but it's seriously hard for a foodie....hear the violins?

I did manage to find delicious soy free veggie burgers, even better tasting than the Morning Star Farms or Boca or Dr. Praeger's.  Sunshine Burgers are wheat and soy free, non-GMO certified, organic, and eco-friendly. So far my favorite are the Southwest. I haven't seen the Falafel at Hannaford, but I'm going to ask the friendly store manager if he'll get them (he's one of the lacrosse coaches with my husband--life in a small town).

So with CSA summer season in full swing, my usual recipes are out the window. I always make a big salad with crumbled bleu cheese and walnuts and cranberries. Some weeks our salad has wilted before we've eaten it. So sad! And I always made swiss chard with goat cheese... Quiches with cheese. See the common denominator here?  As a vegetarian it's really a staple. I can have ricotta, so I've found a spinach and ricotta pie is tasty. I've made that a few times, same Enchanted Broccoli Forest Quiche recipe, just spread ricotta across the bottom instead of sharp cheeses and you're good!

The other thing that has been my go to food right now is simply the glorious egg. I've written about the goodness of organic local eggs before in this post last MayWhile it's great to go to the local farmer's market, I love going down to Mighty Food Farm to pick up our CSA order ourselves. You park on the farm, and pass a few chickens on the way to the CSA room.

Farm kittens playing while rooster looks on.
They also have a freezer now if you want to purchase local meat birds or beef. If you haven't seen Food, Inc., you really need to. I really don't see myself going back to eating meat, but if I did, local would be the way to go. Here's a clip from Food, Inc.

Here's a bowl of beauteous boiled eggs:
And what I've been eating at least three times a week. In fact, one weekend I had to lock myself in my parents' empty house and spend literally 8-10 hours each day working on this giant project a certification through the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning, the second of two I had as a career goal to complete (hooray, I passed and am going next week to Kansas to the big conference to receive it--yippee!), and all that was in the house was TWO gigantic drawers of cheeses, a freezer filled with ice creams with chocolate in them, and a cupboard of soy-filled items.

I ate all of my mom's CSA spinach with farm eggs, just like this.
Look how good and yellow the yolk is! Read that May 24 blog to find out why!
We made egg salad too, with just mustard for Kira. I scoop out my own and add just a slight bit of mayo, and curry powder, which is fantastic, then put it on 7 Grain Sourdough, from the Bakkerij Krijnen, which we can get right in the CSA room. It's on East Main Street in our town, and specializes in pastries from scratch and natural sourdough bread. Hans the Baker is from the Netherlands and uses lots of local and organic ingredients and this bread even has our favorite McCann's Irish Steel Cut Oats in it! 

Of course when it's summer we grill out. In addition to our gas grill for grilled veggies, we have a little backyard fire pit where we do hot dogs over the fire and eat them without plates and that's nice and easy. Last week I put out the pick your own snap peas still in their pint. I can't do the Smart Dogs any more though (boo hoo, soy) and the Sunshine Burgers kind of fall apart over the fire grate so that was a bit of a drag and no S'Mores for me either... more whining, I know. I grabbed some Edy's fruit bars, those are delish and again, saving myself lots of calories between the no cheese and no S'Mores, right?  I really am feeling healthy giving up all the prepared stuff.

For a hot meal, my favorite dinner to whip up is sauteeing veggies and throwing them over pasta. Any kind of veggies tossed with pasta. A great early summer veggie to try are garlic scapes. They're the top of the garlic plant. Here's a nice blog with some beautiful pics. And, my friend Abi's lovely photo and blog post about her love of scapes. I always grab them from the CSA room, they're free! This week I tossed together just about a little of everything we had going on in the fridge. I've been committed to doing less of that American shopping trip of stuffing the grocery cart every week. So much of it sits around and we decide to eat something different and run out for different ingredients anyway. 

Here's what I made:
Swiss chard, garlic scapes, zucchini, squash, kalamatas, artichokes, capers, parsley, basil, ricotta, Organic Valley cream--mostly CSA veggies!
There are so many veggies, you hardly need any pasta (for you carb phobic freaks!). And I always use Barilla Plus, which is protein enriched from chickpeas so there's no soy thank god.

And now for my pièce de résistance: GAZPACHO! Last CSA pick up I had so many greens left from the week before I was able to use most of my share for the ripest, most juicy and beautiful looking tomatoes ever. Too bad I didn't take pictures of them before the soup was made, huh?

But look at it finished. Is this gorgeous or what?
That's Hans' the Baker's 7 Grain Sourdough as Croutons!
 We had this on 4th of July. So cool and delicious.  
Look at the gorgeous herbs from the Pick Your Own Field at the farm. I used the parsley and the basil in the gazpacho. I also made coleslaw for the fourth, just baby cabbages from the farm, some mayo, vinegar, maple syrup, carrots and all that delicious dill!
To make the gazpacho, I used about three pounds of garden tomatoes. Seriously, do not even bother to make gazpacho from grocery store tomatoes. It's not worth it. It will not taste good.  Some recipes call for adding tomato juice. What?? I think Chef Lee, my brother, would call those cooks "shoemakers"! Maybe I'm wrong about that, but really if you use garden tomatoes, they will be so juicy, you shouldn't need anything else! I personally don't prefer the usual addition of red or green pepper, but add that if you'd like. I put the tomatoes in the food processor with about three garden cucumbers. Again, don't bother if they aren't from the garden too! (Peel the skin first).  Don't pulse them too much.  I eyeball the amount of cucumbers too. I added two or three scallions, and a handful of those lovely scapes! When they aren't in season, I'll probably do one clove of garlic. Do this to your own taste. (If you want a simple recipe, here's one from The Martha, serves 1 so multiply to your needs.)

Add a lot of parsley and about half that in basil, to your taste. And then grind sea salt and half that of fresh ground pepper to your taste. Next stir in about a quarter cup of red vinegar. Chill a few hours. Stir it up before you serve it. Drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil right before you serve it. Slice up some good bread into cubes and toss with olive oil and toast. Toss a few in the bowls.  
Holy cow it's fantastic. 
Fireworks in Bennington a few hours after our gazpacho!
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  1. Here's what my brother Chef Lee had to say:
    That Gazpacho looks delicious! I usually make mine more on the spanish style, with cilantro, cumin, coriendeer, lime juice, etc...... I also finely dice all my vegetables that go in it so it looks a little nicer. I also once added Tequila to it and sold it as a Gazpacho Margarita!!!!! By the way, becareful with fried foods from restaruants, and stores, etc... I noticed a lot of "Fry - oil" has a soy mix to it..... I will find out more about that.

  2. I liked the smoothness of the puree--i don't do it too long so there are still chunks. And of course you can finely chop like a pro!

  3. yum! I'm starving now. You get hints about cooking from your brother. From your sister, you get hints about wine or beer -- vodka is the drink of choice. Try it with club soda and lemon to get you started.

  4. I used to be a vodka drinker before I worked at a wine bar and really appreciated red wine. I think my sister's right to keep it simple, purely for skipping all the calories in those mixed drinks. But if you're interested, check out this site for a bevy of beverages featuring vodka!


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