Tomato Gazpacho, get that summer in a soup!!!

Tomato Gazpacho

Heads up people! Summer is almost over!!!!

Sorry if I’m breaking the news to you, but it’s unfortunate facts… But there is still the long week-end to enjoy before it really tastes like fall. Even if its official date is September 22nd, for me, like most of you, it starts right after Labor day: School, dead leaves, shorter days, rain (thanks BC) are not waiting 22 more days, you know…

This year particularly, I feel very anxious about this summer end. My oldest kid, my son Matthew, is going to school for the 1st time!!! Well kindergarden, but still! He is not a baby anymore!!! Well of course, he is 4 after all. But every kid is a baby until they go to school, no???

Anyway, let’s enjoy it. Let’s enjoy those wonderful products of summer, like fresh ripped tomatoes! If you are one of those lucky ones and have had so many tomatoes in your garden, that you just don’t know what to do with them (and I envy you, I had NOTHING growing this year …), this is the perfect recipe for using them all!

Gazpacho is a cold soup with a tomato base, originating from Spain. But you can read more about it here.

Super fresh, zesty and a bit spicy, if you like it this way, you can customize to the infinity and slurp on it at any time!!!

Happy Labor Day week-end!!!!

Ingredients (5 cups)

  • 5 or more ripped tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t tabasco
  • fresh chives and basil

Instructions

  • Peel the cucumber, dice the garlic and herbs, chop all the veggies. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until there is no more visible chunks.
  • Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serve in bowls, glasses or shallow plates. You can add more chopped basil, drops of olive oil, or dollops of fresh goat cheese for serving, and side of toasted bread, tapenade and cheese.

For the easy to print, share and e-mail recipe, visit my Recipage.

You might also like:

Tomato Mozzarella Pizza

Quinoa Tabouleh

Lemon & Sage grilled Chicken

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Quinoa Tabouleh, best side to your BBQ!

Quinoa Tabouleh

Usually prepared with bulgur or couscous, Tabouleh is amazing with quinoa! Quinoa has so much goodness to it, if you haven’t tried it yet, now is time!

This side dish is the perfect addition to your BBQ feast; refresing, healthy and zesty, everyone will enjoy a scoop of it, really, everyone! It answers to pretty much all kinds of diet: vegan, dairy free, gluten free… and more, but none the less, amazingly tasty!

Very easy to prepare, but must be done in advance!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Ingredients: for a dozen guests, as a side dish

  • 1 & 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 2 & 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 t Tabasco
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper

Directions:

  • The day before, or morning of, cook your quinoa in the water; on high until it starts boiling, then 10 min on low, covered. If water is left after that, remove all excess with a strainer. Do not over cook, the quinoa will absorb other liquids later!
  • Let the quinoa cool to room temperature, then add lemon and oil. Refrigerate overnight, or until completely cold.
  • Once cold, add to the quinoa all the remaining ingredients. season to taste. Refrigerate again for at least another 2 hours before serving.
  • Serve really cold, as a side dish. Best done the day before, so all the flavors marinate together. Your vegetables won’t get soft until the 2nd or 3rd day.

Find the easy to share, print and e-mail recipe on my Recipage.

You may also like:

Raspberry Pistachio Chicken Salad

Cheeseburger, outside in

Hibiscus Tea

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Post publishing updates:

September 6th: This recipe was featured on the top 6 savory recipes of  Whatcha’ Whipped Up, from the delicious blog: DJ”s Sugar Shack! Thank you so much!!!

Hibiscus Tea, or Agua de Jamaica

Hibiscus Tea, or Agua de Jamaica

Well, I am not enjoying those beautiful sunny days… I have been battling a nasty ear infection and therefore I’m stuck at home… Although, when leaving the pharmacy for my antibiotics prescription, I couldn’t resist visiting my favorite speciality food store; Galloway’s. And as usual, starting to browse through the shelves, with no idea in mind of what to buy. I don’t even feel like cooking… What??? Yep… It hurt…

But then I saw a bag of dried Hibiscus flowers, and reminded me when my mom was coming back from Egypt (she went at least 3 times touristing), she would always bring some home. It is a flower, but when infused, it taste tangy, kind of like cranberry juice. And the reddish color is so beautiful! Anyway, I haven’t drink this in over a decade, and I remembered that it is supposed to be high in vitamin C. Sold!

When back home, doing a bit of web research, I found out that this tea is also a natural diuretic recommended in weight loss diet. There’s also at least one government study that shows that hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure. Good huh?

I also found that in California, this tea is prepared with some spices; ginger, cinnamon, all spices… and is also called “Agua de Jamaica”, so that’s what I tried today…

At least it’s easy, refreshing, and it is good for my poor health 😦

Even not sick, you will for sure enjoy this on a hot summer day, or serve it at a BBQ instead of usual cranberry juice. You can substitute sugar for Stevia for a no-carb version!

Enjoy, and don’t do like me: dry your ears carefully when coming out of the pool, mostly if it’s windy, trust me…

Ingredients (8 cups)

  • 2 quarts water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar or other sweetener (I used Stevia)
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • A few thin slices ginger
  • 1/2 sliced and grated vanilla bean
  • Lime juice
  • Orange or lime slices for garnish

Instructions

  • Put 4 cups of the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan (if using Stevia, do not add before cooking, but after straining the tea). Add cinnamon, ginger slices, and vanilla. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers.
  • Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla bean.
  • At this point you can store ahead the concentrate, chilled, until ready to make the drink.
  • Add remaining 4 cups of water (or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water) to the concentrate, and chill. Alternatively you can add ice and chilled soda water for a bubbly version. Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor.
  • Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.

Find the easy to share, e-mail, print recipe on my Recipage.

Linked to those great parties:

Lil\'Luna

Raspberry pistachio chicken salad, this berry has called my name…

Raspberry pistachio chicken salad

You probably don’t know yet, this blog is too recent… I am in LOVE with raspberries. I can eat anything with raspberries!!! My favourite fruit ever!

When we purchased our cute little house 5 years ago, it was a total call from the heart on my part… We blow the budget, because my heart couldn’t stop. That because of a few things: the kids room had a sky hand painted on the ceiling, it has moulding dating from the day it was built (back in 1930’s) and it has a garden with grown plants of … RASPBERRIES!!!!!

To my big surprise coming back from our french trip, the plants where covered in nice ripen ready to fall on your plate raspberries!!! Surprise, because the weather had been so crappy for this early summer, I didn’t expected to eat much coming from my backyards, I mean, you should see my herb garden, war zone of herbs, not the right ones though…

Anyway, there are so many of the beautiful berries, that I don’t know what to do with it anymore!!! (BTW, don’t be surprised if my 10 next posts are made with… raspberries). So I did a salad with it, yep, just like that, for the fun of it. I used to eat that wonderful strawberry salad in the pizzeria across my workplace, with candied pecans, goat cheese and chicken. It was my first experience in fruit in my salad, and I fell in love with it. So why not with raspberries?

Well, voilà!

Ingredients (for 2)

– 2 chicken breasts

– fresh raspberries

– young fresh spinach

– pistachios

– honey

– salt and pepper

For the dressing:

– 5 raspberries

– 3 tps of honey

– 1 tps of poppy seeds

– 1 tps of Dijon mustard

– 1 tbs of white wine vinegar

– 3 tbs of olive oil

Directions:

– Cook your chicken breast. Here, I marinated them 2 hours with lime juice and honey, and barbecued them.

– Roast your pistachios in a pan for about 5 min on medium, or until you start to smell the nutty smell. Shake them around often to avoid burning. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Drizzle some honey on it while still on the stove, and shake them around, making sure they are all covered. Let it cook for just about 1 min, or until you can smell that caramel smell. Then transfer quickly the nuts on a cold plate. Don’t touch right away, the hot sugar would burn you!!! Let cool for 5 min, and separate the nuts with your fingers.

– Prepare the dressing by crushing the fresh raspberries, and mixing with the rest of the dressing ingredients.

– In 2 plates, toss the spinach with a bit of the dressing. Layer on it the cooked and sliced chicken, some fresh raspberries, caramelized pistachios and drizzle everything with more dressing. You can add feta cheese or crumbled fresh goat cheese, not done here, but probably amazing!!!

Cheeseburger outside-in!!! With Boursin cheese, shiitake mushrooms, red peppers and bacon

Cheeseburger outside-in!!! With Boursin cheese, shiitake mushrooms, red peppers and bacon

Tartine & Maple

Hubby and I have been great enthusiasms of the home grilled burger for ever since we bought our house, with a garden, with a barbecue… But really nothing fancy, just grilling a store-bought patty. Just the pleasure of piling whatever the hell you want in it, is great amusement, as oppose to buying that delicious looking quarter pounder in a fast food, only to realized that it’s so flat compared to the advertised picture, that right before you take that 1st bit, you are already telling yourself: why am I here,  eating this unappetizing thing, and knowing, that I am going to deal with stomach cramps for the next 2 hours?
Our home grilled burger never give us the cramps and are way more satisfying, probably due to not having a preview luring picture to nag you in the 1st place! From the grill to the mouth!!!
So they were store brought. Yes, lack of time, courage, laziness. Maybe I mentioned this already, I love home-made food, but admit it, for he past 5 years (since my 1st pregnancy) I just didn’t cook as much. Now that the food revolution is taking over my kitchen, burgers were on the top of the list! Home made burgers! But not just any burger, an outside in cheeseburger! Not with a Kraft slice of rubber in the inside, but Boursin and cheddar! And not with just tomatoes and lettuce, but grilled red peppers, shiitake and bacon!!!!
It was amazing! What I learn from eating them: they are on the heavy side, be hungry! If you are not starving, you might want to omit the shiitake mushrooms, never thought they could be so filling, no wonder it’s a go to ingredient for vegetarians. At the same time, it would be a shame, it’s so good all together! Oh, and did I mentioned that Chipotle Tabasco is my new favourite seasoning? I put that thing on everything!!!

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • few drops of chipotle Tabasco
  • salt, pepper
  • 6 tbsp of grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp of Boursin cheese
  • 2 strips of cooked bacon

For the toppings

  • shiitake mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Red peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Real Dijon mustard (Maille brand)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chipotle Tabasco

Instructions

  • Mix together the beef, raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper with your hands, until all well blended. Separate into 4 balls. Flatten those slightly.
  • Blend together the 2 cheeses and the chopped cooked bacon, and form 4 cheese balls. Flatten them to form little patties.
  • Open the beef patties on one side with a knife, and insert the cheese patties. Close the beef all around the cheese, making sure the cheese is tightly sealed in the beef. Flatten as best as possible, knowing that the patties will shrink when cooking.
  • The toppings are optional, and up to your taste. If you decide to use the ones here:
  • Cook the bacon strips in a pan or on the grill, aside with the burgers. You can cook also the shiitake mushrooms on the grill, after coating them lightly with olive oil, 3 min each side. You can also place your red peppers on the grill, until the skin turns black. Then scratch off the skins and cut in slices.
  • If you don’t have room on your grill, I would suggest starting with the peppers and bacon, then the burgers (about 4 min on each side) along with the mushrooms.
  • While those are cooking, prepare your chipotle mayonnaise by just mixing some mayonnaise with some chipotle Tabasco to your taste. It’s a great dip for sweet potatoes fries, which I served the burgers with!
  • Grill slightly your buns, open side down, on the grill, and stack everything up, coating the inside of the buns with chipotle mayo and Dijon mustard. Serve with fries.

Tartine & Maple

For the easy to print, save and share recipe, visit my Recipage!

Lemon & Sage grilled chicken

Lemon & Sage grilled chicken

Tartine & Maple

We finally had dinner outside!!! This post is definitely the total opposite of the post from last week-end, the one where I was renting about the awful spring weather in BC, and how it made us feel, once again, that the summer will be crapier than the year before…

Well, today, the heat! … Was frightful … because it is enjoyable, but also scary. If you’ve been in BC for a while, you know that a 27° C on May 26th, well, you gonna have to pay for it, soon. I mean, we all know this is not the beginning of summer, it’s just that tease: “you like the heat, huh? Well don’t get use to it, cauz you’ll have another week of rain before you’ll see the sun shine again”…

So no time to waste, let’s barbecue!!! Plus, I had to trim the sage bush, which was really starting to look like a tree…

This marinade will make your oh so common piece of chicken bursting with tangy flavors and keep the chicken juicy & crispy!

Ingredients (for 2):

–        2 chicken breast

–        ½ lemon juiced

–        10 sage leaves chopped

–        1 glove of garlic crushed

–        3 tbs of plain yogurt

–        2 tbs olive oil

–        Salt / pepper

Mix all the ingredients but the chicken to prepare the marinade. Cut chicken breast in 2/3 pieces. Marinade for a few hours or overnight. Cook on the grill or bbq until done.

Serve with potatoes roasted with sage.

To print, save or e-mail that recipe, visit my recipage; http://www.recipage.com/recipes/6025482.html