Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup (Vegan)

When it's time to beat the summer heat, I love cold soups. Recently, my mother—the Original Diva—harvested a basket of heirloom cucumbers and tomatoes from her garden in Virginia.

While chatting on the phone about what to do with them, I suggested a vegan chilled cucumber soup. After some googling, I came across a fabulous-looking recipe on the popular food blog, Pickles & Honey for Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup. I emailed it over to my mother.

The next day, my mom whipped it up, and the results as reported back to me were fabulous. The avocado gives this vegan soup a creamy texture. It's the perfect dish for summer. I plan to make it myself this week.

Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup 
Vegan; gluten-free
Adapted from Pickles & Honey
Serves 4 people
Prep time: 1 hour 5 minutes (includes chilling the soup)

1 pound organic cucumbers, roughly chopped
2 small avocados, peele and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon seas salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
chopped tomato & cilantro (for garnishing/optional)

1. Place the cucumbers, avocados, lime juice, water, sea salt, and pepper into a blender. Process until smooth. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed.

2. Transfer to a large bowl or tupperware and chill in the fridge for at least an hour prior to serving.

3. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the tomatoes and cilantro. Enjoy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer Gazpacho with Feta (Gluten Free)

Summer is in full swing... and tomatoes are coming on strong.

(So is corn by the way... check out my corn on the cob recipe in Parade Magazine)

I just celebrated my birthday over the weekend (the big 34) with a low key celebration. My hubby got me some fantastic gifts. Caught the horror film The Conjuring (I'm a sucker for a scary movie) and dinner at a little place called Rascal (I'm obsessed with their curry flavored tater tots). I can't believe it's already August—this year has flown by!

When the temperatures soars, I love to make chilled gazpacho. Traditionally prepared with bread, this recipe forgoes that glutenous ingredient. I just blend fresh vegetables with a little balsamic vinegar and serve it with extra virgin olive oil and feta cheese for the perfect summer treat.

Summer Gazpacho with Feta (Gluten Free)
Serves 4 people
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus about one hour chilling time)
Vegetarian; gluten-free

4 cups tomatoes, quartered
1 cup cucumbers, roughly chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 jalapeño, halved and seeded (optional)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

for garnishing:
extra virgin olive oil
feta cheese (I prefer goat's milk feta)
fresh cracked pepper

1. Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, jalapeño, red onion, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil in a blender and puree until combined but still a little chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

2. Chill the soup for at least an hour in the refrigerator (may be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge).
3. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Crumble some feta cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil. Finish with a little fresh cracked pepper. Enjoy!