Ying Yang gazpacho

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Friday night we had a small dinner party with friends, and I wanted to make a delicious, filling meal that was not too heavy. I settled on making a chopped salad, gazpacho 2 ways, green beans, and filet of sole in a butter sauce. I decided to make a yellow tomato gazpacho soup and a traditional red tomato gazpacho. When I served them, I put them together in the same bowl, and my friends named it ying yang gazpacho. The pickiest of eaters even ate a bowl of this gazpacho. I think that this will become a summer time staple. The soups have great complimentary tastes and textures. They are easy to make, and are a nice change from having salad.

Приятного аппетита

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

2 pints yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 Valencia orange, peeled and pith removed
1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove
3/4 cups olive oil
1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/4 Tsp hot sauce, or to taste

Working in batches, purée ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, whisk, and chill, covered, for one hour. Whisk before serving.

Traditional Gazpacho

4-6 ripe red tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cups olive oil

Working in batches, purée ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, whisk, and chill, covered, for one hour. Whisk before serving.

Both soups can be served with croutons and some chopped chives.

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Boston Marathon Chili tastes good in New York too

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Football season is over, and I have to admit that I miss my Sundays. I’m missing sitting by the fire with my boys, watching our teams play, and eating chili. There was a comfort knowing that every Sunday we were having chili, and would have a relaxing day(albeit sometimes stressful if our teams were losing). Our house was always open for anyone who wanted to join us. The more the merrier! I was not a “football widow” and took pride in making the typical football food and didn’t want to miss a minute of the game.

But now the season is over, no more Super Bowl to plan a menu for (Go Giants!), but the weather is still cold (let’s pretend that we had a real winter in NY, ok?). So I decided to start trying out different chili recipes. Maybe there is something else I can make to shake things up a bit during the football season. My regular chili uses ground beef, and I thought that it might be nice to try a chili that uses chunks of beef, and I found this recipe for Boston Marathon Chili.

This is is a delicious, filling, flavor filled chili. And my husband said it was even better the next day. The pork rib meat is a little drier than the beef, so I think that next time I’m going to try making this with just beef. The meat was tender, and absorbed the flavor of the chili really well. This isn’t exactly a chili that is easy to eat with chips, but my husband was determined. I think that this recipe I’ll keep for those football Sundays when we know we are having company for the game.

For dessert, I needed something simple, and sweet, and something that would be a good snack for the game. I’m not going to take credit for creating this snack, and I don’t know a better way to describe them than chocolate pretzel hugs. They are addictive! You’ve been warned… You can’t have just one.

Ingredients
Hershey’s Hugs (you can use kisses if you prefer, but I love the hugs for this snack)
Snyders pretzel snaps
M&M’s

Preheat the oven to 175. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and spread pretzel snaps out flat in one layer. Remove hugs from foil wrappers, and place one hug on the center of each pretzel. Place the cookie sheet into the oven for 5-6 mins. Immediately after removing the tray from the oven, push one M&M into the center of each hug. Place the tray into the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden.

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Приятного аппетита!

Spaghetti Squash: A success story

After my first failed attempt, I was not quite ready to give up on the spaghetti squash (read my previous post, You win some, you lose some…). Hurricane Irene was quickly approaching, and I ran to the grocery store to get supplies. Why I thought it would be a good idea to get perishable items, like fruits and veggies, knowing that our power might go out is beyond me. But there I was, staring at the spaghetti squash. I knew I could make something great using it, if I could just find the right dish. Eureeka! A stormy day, rain and thunder and lightning, and what better dish to make than one I know my boys (and that includes my husband) would love. So, I decided to make Kielbasa with tomatoes, onions, and peppers. This is an easy meal to make, and usually I would boil up some pasta to serve it over. But since we are trying to be low-carb, I have been struggling with an idea of how to serve this dish without pasta. Deep breath… I’m going to try this one more time, and I bought one spaghetti squash.

So, I prepare the kielbasa, which gets my little guy all excited about dinner. He loves kielbasa! And I know that getting him to the table will not be a fight tonight. I baked the spaghetti squash in the oven, and everything finished cooking at the same time; I timed it perfectly. In one big glass bowl I served the kielbasa, and into a second large glass bowl I scraped the spaghetti squash. And here is where I made my mistake. My son walked into the kitchen and saw me scraping the squash into the bowl. Now he knew that this wasn’t pasta, no matter how hard I tried to convince him. Oh, well. I served a little spaghetti squash onto the plate, and piled on the kielbasa, lots of tomatoes (because he’ll eat those) and some peppers and onions. He actually tried the spaghetti squash; he’s not a fan. My husband tried the spaghetti squash with the sauce from the kielbasa and was pleasantly surprised. The sweetness of the squash balances the saltiness of the sauce and kielbasa. And he even ate more than one serving! Success! Now, I’m inspired to try another dish with this squash. I am going to make my son a fan (or I’m just going to run out of ideas).

Приятного аппетита!

Kielbasa with Tomatoes, Peppers, and Onions

1 can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice and liquid reserved

1 loop Polish kielbasa, sliced into 1/2 to 3/4″

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1 large onion, sliced

EVOO

In a large pot, heat some EVOO. Add the peppers and onions and saute until they begin to soften. Add the tomatoes and the liquid from the cans, and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Add the kielbasa slices, mix together, cover and simmer on med for approximately 1 hour. This can be allowed to cook longer. The longer it all cooks together, the better the flavors will blend.