Tomato Red Pepper Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a quintessential soup for the dog days of summer. For me, sipping a big bowlful is an enjoyable and tasty way to stay hydrated and get loads of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients at the same time.  Serves 8

1 ½ – 2 cups tomato juice or tomato juice blend, low sodium if possible

6 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered

2 small red bell peppers, roughly chopped [about 2 ½ cups]

4 medium or 2 large stalks celery, roughly chopped [about 1 ½ cups]

1 medium organic and un-waxed cucumber with skin, roughly chopped [see note below]

1 small zucchini, roughly chopped [about 1 cup]

¼ cup roughly chopped red onion

¼ – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons capers

1 Tablespoon roughly chopped fresh jalapeno

1 large clove fresh garlic

1 teaspoon sea salt [decrease amount to ½ teaspoon if not using low sodium tomato juice]

½ teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1 ½ – 2 teaspoons lemon juice

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley

½ – 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Place the tomato juice, tomatoes, red peppers, celery, cucumber, zucchini, onion, olive oil, capers, jalapeno, garlic, salt, and dried oregano into the blender container. Blend on high until vegetables are fully broken down and soup is very smooth. Add the sherry vinegar, lemon juice, fresh basil, parsley, and ½ teaspoon of maple syrup.

Blend on high for another 30-45 seconds or until basil and parsley are finely chopped and well incorporated. Taste and see if an additional pinch of salt, sherry vinegar, or maple syrup is needed for brightness and balance. Serve chilled.

Catherine McConkie 2017, all rights reserved

Chef C’s cooking tips:

  • Season, age at harvest, growing and storage conditions all impact the sweetness, “juicy” factor and taste of fresh produce. Have confidence tinkering with the amounts of lemon juice, sherry vinegar, salt, oil, and maple syrup needed in order to make your taste buds come alive.
  • Variation: for a more chunky texture stir in some diced celery or cucumber, chopped green olives, or crumbled croutons before serving
  • Cucumber with it’s skin will add extra nutrients and fiber to any dish but they are consistently on EWG’s dirty dozen list for high pesticide residue. Lightly peel the cuke if organic and/or unwaxed product isn’t available

 

Avocado Toast with Egg

A favorite breakfast or snack of mine is avocado on whole grain toast. Much of the time it gets topped with scrambled egg to which I’ve added shredded cabbage, scallion and a drizzle of sriracha. But diced pepper, zucchini, kale, almost any veggie and/or fresh herb works. Best thing is it takes less than 5 minutes to make. This picture is one of my uber fast home versions with egg and baby spinach. 

And… life happens. When I find myself in a bigger than ever, gotta get out the door NOW kind of hurry I just make the toast and schmear on the avocado, wrap that up, grab a handful of baby spinach or arugula, my portable sea salt and black pepper container thingie and a hard boiled egg. Later on the greens go down and the egg is sliced on top.

Either way it’s made avocado toast with egg is a delicious, sustaining, and nutritious treat!

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