Friday, 15 August 2014

Gazpacho - A Lovely Summer Soup

When I was younger, my mom found this wonderful recipe for Gazpacho and we made it regularly during the summer. I LOVE this soup. It is a wonderful, cold soup - perfect for those hot days when you don't feel like heating up your kitchen. It is refreshing, light and full of all kinds of healthy! Serve it as an appetizer or as a light meal with a whole grain pita and a bean salad. YUM! All you need is a good knife, a peeler, a blender and a fridge. Sadly, our family recipe went missing so I set out to re-create the recipe of my childhood. I believe I have succeeded!

Start by preparing your veggies.  Peel your cucumber, halve and clean out the ribs and seeds from your peppers, trim your green onions and celery. Chop everything in a medium dice.
Throw the chopped vegetables into the blender. Add 3 cups of the tomato juice to start.

Peel and mince the garlic clove. Measure out your olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Add it to your blender.

Blitz everything until a uniform soup results. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in two batches. Transfer the gazpacho to a container to store in the refrigerator.  I prefer glass, but that's just me. Use whatever container you have on hand.  Add more tomato juice as necessary to get the soup consistency you enjoy. You can add the additional tomato juice to the soup in your storage container and shake or whisk it in. I like my gazpacho to be fairly "fluidic" so I have used as much as 5 cups of tomato juice, but I always start at 3 cups and add a little more at a time to get the best consistency. I like to chill this soup at least 3 hours or over night to let the flavours combine. The soup keeps well for several days too, so you can snack on the left overs.  I even found out that I could pour it into single servings (not the added veggies though - add those at serving time) and freeze the soup. Once thawed in the fridge, the gazpacho is as tasty as
 freshh! Who knew?

At serving time, finely dice the remaining cucumber, red and green peppers and a medium tomato of your choice. 

Pour the soup into your serving bowls and sprinkle the finely diced veggies into each of the bowls evenly. If you like, you can add one extra drizzle of olive oil too.


A wonderful summer soup, refreshing yet substantial. This recipe serves 6-8 people.


  • 1 can of Roma tomatoes – 796 mL (in season Roma tomatoes , 5 or so fresh, skinned and seeded, could be substituted)   
  • 1 sweet red pepper, halved and seeded                                    
  • 1 green pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 green onions, green and white parts
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 good sized garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cups tomato juice (approximately)
  • 1 generous pinch or 2 of a good quality salt                                    
  • A few grinds of pepper
  • 1 medium tomato (garnish)


  • Reserve the other halves of the red, and green peppers, and cucumber for garnish at serving time.
  • Roughly chop the cucumber, red and green peppers and green onions.
  • Finely dice the celery.
  • Add all chopped veggies, canned tomatoes, 2 cups of tomato juice, vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the blender. Blend on high. Do in 2 batches if necessary.
  • Pour the soup into a large pitcher. Check the consistency of the soup, Add the remainder of the tomato juice, more if required; stir well and chill for several hours – minimally 3 hours, but preferably over night so the garlic mellows a bit!

  • Finely dice the reserved red and green peppers, cucumber and the tomato.
  • Pour the soup into bowls, sprinkle with a generous serving of diced veggies.
  • If you want, you can drink this soup as a quick snack, simply by pouring just the soup into a tall glass. Such a speedy way to get a whole bunch of goodness. Who needs V-8?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

What To Do With Orange Peels: Part 2

It seems like forever since my last post.  Truth be known, I have had this post ready for some time now.  The catch being, I wanted to fine tune the attached video. I did a practice one when I first wrote this and had great intentions of doing a better instructional video.  Alas, this is not to be (for now).  The summer has been busy and I haven't been able to catch a family member to hold the camera; so until that happens, my experimental video will have to do. I will try to do better in the future... after all, Rome was not built in a day.

In my last post, you heard about my trials and tribulations as a child against my arch enemy the orange! I also shared one of my favourite green cleaners with you! I hope you have had a chance to make a batch of your own.  

Zesting & Freezing the Orange Peel

Another favourite use for the orange peels is to cook with them. Sometimes a recipe calls for just orange zest, but I have no need for the fruit and I am not hungry enough to eat it. In order to prepare myself for this eventuality, I will zest the oranges before peeling and sectioning the oranges. Then I put these fine shreds into a small wide mouth mason jar which is stored in the freezer. I make sure to put the new zest at the bottom if there is already zest in the jar (last in, first out). So the next time I need zest but no orange, I am prepared!

Sometimes, I already have two jars of cleaning solution in the fridge and have sectioned a number of oranges for a salad. Now what?  I don't want to waste that gorgeous peel so I remove the pith from the orange peel with a really sharp knife. Then toss it into, yes, a small wide mouth mason jar, and store it in the freezer until I need it.  When I use this orange peel, I will finely chop it as you will see later. 

I have prepared a short video tutorial to show you how I remove the pith. If you use a really sharp knife, you will be able to run it horizontally along the peel to remove the white pith. Mind your fingers!

Once I have removed the pith, I take the peels and pop into that glass mason jar to store in my freezer for another day.

Finely Chopping Orange Peel
Some recipes don't require the fine zest of orange (or lemon) peel and a finely chopped peel will do just fine.  When I need finely chopped orange peel,mi can grab whatever I need from my freezer.

I take each piece of peel and slice through the peel lengthwise, making very tiny ribbons.

Once the peel has been sliced into ribbons, I turn the pile and cit again in the opposing direction, creating a super tiny dice. If necessary, keeping chopping until your dice is as fine as you want it.

Keep in mind, that you can do this with lemons too. I have often used recipes that call for just the juice, so why not juice you lemons, remove the pith and save the peels for a rainy day!