Wednesday, June 20, 2012

gifts from the garden

Summer is gently making her grand entrance. Nights are velvety soft and twinkling with fireflies, making it impossibly romantic to be outdoors. We went to Ashford Manor to kick off the season with the first summer concert and picnicked on the lawn grooving to Abbey Road, a Beatles tribute band. Bogdan came home earlier that day during lunch with a variety of cucumbers and peppers, compliments of a co-worker's garden's harvest. Since this past week we had been slurping up cucumber gazpacho at Heirloom here in Athens and Star Provisions in Atlanta, it was a no-brainer what to make to take with us for a refreshing start to our picnic.

Here is my interpretation of chilled summer cucumber gazpacho:

1 1/2 lbs. cucumbers, peeled & de-seeded
2 long green peppers (Anaheim Chilis/California Green Chilis), deseeded
1 large clove garlic, pressed
juice of half a grapefruit
1/2 cup European/Greek style yogurt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp sea salt

Cut up cucumbers into chunks and roughly chop peppers. Place everything in a blender and puree until smooth. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or for a quick chill, place in a sealed container and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Makes 3 Cups of gazpacho (serves 4 small cups).

Thursday, June 7, 2012

the color of summer

it's almost here. and although we've been experiencing mild days with weekly thunder showers, i'm starting to crave the boldness and freshness that summer fruits and veggies cool us down with. this weekend we're off to the low country to kick it with some friends at the beach. i can't wait to swim and eat some good seafood! and while cleaning out the fridge for today's lunch, i scrapped together some remains from our early summer treats, with a little bit of spring lingering behind.

it's so simple. watermelon. tomato. haloumi cheese. throw it all on the grill. i had some really left over macerated balsamic strawberries* i had made with fresh pickings from Washington Farms that served as the perfect sweet to the salty bite of the cheese. the tart balsamic juice drizzled over everything added extra zing. sprinkle everything with maldon sea salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. minced fresh mint and basil to top off. and toasted kalamata olive bread to sop up all of the goodness. don't know if it's the bit of greek in me, but i could feast like this all summer....

*jaime oliver's balsamic strawberries

1 pint strawberries
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

hull & cut berries into bite size. in a bowl, sprinkle sugar over berries and add vinegar. mix until well coated and let sit at least 2 1/2 hours in the fridge. the berries i had have been in the fridge over a week, which translates into an extremely syrupy juice and macerated fruit. great as a topping for almost any desert!