Andalusian Gazpacho – Nashville Style

I am pretty sure the first time I ever had Gazpacho was in the early 70’s. Rather a cool-food of the moment it seemed to show up everywhere at potlucks and restaurants. Mostly chunky with too many onions taking over, and watery, I was never a fan. Over the years I tried the many versions of this Spanish soup that crossed my culinary path. The only vaguely appealing gazpachos were the blended-until-smooth ones…until recently.

I wish I could say the recipe is original, but it is not. On the other hand, I cannot say where it came from as it was cut from a magazine years ago and I recently found it in a file where I used to put such things before iphones and scanners. So I made this classic Andalusian Gazpacho a couple of weeks ago using Nashville homegrown tomatoes. I want to thank the cook who came up with this recipe and I want to thank them for converting me. Full of summer goodness.

Ingredients stuffed into my food processor…….

…and in a few seconds becoming creamy goodness.

I ate it for days. I froze some for later. August is a hot month calling for cooling foods. There’s a bumper crop of local tomatoes and cucumbers right now in the farmer’s markets. This soup is a good way to use those too-ripe-to-slice tomatoes as well.

Andalusian Gazpacho-Nashville Style

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 very ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (can use a home-grown as well)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: shredded cucumber for garnish

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until very smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill in a glass container with a lid until ready to serve.
  3. To serve drizzle with additional olive oil. Top servings with shredded cucumber if you wish.

(Almost No Cooking) E.A.T. Late Summer Salad with Crowder Peas, Homegrown Tomatoes & Cucumbers

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 The so-called “dog days of summer” have gotten to me and when it comes to cooking I am giving in. Salads and variations-on-the-salad will be my mainstay for a bit. Cool foods that I can quickly and easily put together with ingredients  that are readily and locally available. I will make foods that do not require breaking a sweat.

This colander of fresh Crowder peas in where we start today. I quickly cooked them in a plastic bag in the microwave…no hot water steaming up the kitchen on this 90+ degree day,  then I rinsed them in cold water and let them drain for a bit.

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Hmmmm….homegrown tomatoes & cucumbers from the Duren-Kemp garden of earthly delights. (That’s my son-in-law and daughter’s garden.)

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A splash or two or three of this fab balsamic vinegar purchased down the street from Lazzaroli’s Pasta emporium.

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Easy as this Lemon Salt  & freshly ground black pepper added to taste… served with glass of chilled white wine and a baguette from Dozen’s Bakery.

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 A late summer, no oven or stove-top dinner, healthy & fresh, cool as a cucumber meal! Keep it simple, don’t work up a sweat with this “Crowder Pea, Homegrown Tomato & Cucumber Salad”. It’s another “E.A.T. ” (easy as this) meal brought to you from my little Food on Fifth kitchen.

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(Almost No Cooking) E.A.T. Late Summer Salad of Crowder Peas, Homegrown Tomatoes and Cucumbers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: E.A.T. (Easy as This)
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups fresh, shelled Crowder peas, lady peas or any other summer pea
  • 4 medium size home-grown tomatoes cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1-2 fresh smallish size cucumbers, peeled or unpeeled, sliced or cut into chunks
  • a good balsamic vinegar, as much as you like to coat
  • lemon salt & freshly ground black pepper (or just regular sea salt)

Directions:

  1. Rinse & drain peas & put in a zip-lock bag left slightly open. Cook in microwave for about 8 minutes on high. Dump into a colander and rinse with cool running water. Leave to drain for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl toss together the cooled peas, tomato chunks & cucumbers.
  3. Season with salt & black pepper. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve at room temp or chilled. Delicious with a crusty baguette and, of course on a hot day, a glass of chilled white wine. Bon Appetite.

Teresa Blackburn   teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    foodonfifth.com

“Damn! It’s Hot Sangria with a Cold Rose’ & St. Germain”

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Hello July! Hello cloying humidity! Hello heat!

No ovens, no stove-tops, crock-pots or any other sort of heat inducing machines…just ice cold Rose’ Wine, a splash of St. Germain elderflower liqueur,  lemons and  cucumbers. You will stay hydrated, eat your vegetables, cool down with my ready-for-the-4th of July “Damn! It’s Hot Sangria!”

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A giant glass jar is a fine thing to have around for mixing and conjuring.

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Drink up…you deserve a cool down…you’ve worked hard. Enjoy the long weekend with friends and family and some Sangria!

Listen to this while you mix and mingle or just want to dance around the house alone while you sip…..St. Germain, Tourist “Rose Rouge”…hot jazz, cool drink!

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Damn! It's Hot Sangria

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • One bottle of good really chilled Rose Wine
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 1/2 cup, or to taste, St. Germain
  • Thinly sliced lemons
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • Lots of ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a large glass jar or pitcher and serve.

Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

“Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas and Pesto Salad”

fergola sarda pasta salad

Labor Day is almost here. The day that heralds the end of summer and the beginning of fall…..somewhere. Labor Day here in Nashville heralds our hottest days and nights, hours of watering gardens & lawns or just giving up and letting it all go to seed. Plump ripe tomatoes, the last of the Lady Peas at the Farmer’s Market and at my house absolutely no desire to fire up the oven. Supper has to be short & a bit sassy, using whatever I can lay my hands on…healthy & colorful is always good…a little crunch…a glass of cool white wine. That is truly about all I can deal with.

Enter, stage left….Fergola Sarda. Have you heard of it? I had not until recently when perusing the shelves of Lazzaroli’s Pasta down the street from my house here on Fifth Avenue North. My eyes alighted on a bag of pasta that contained tiny round, lightly toasted looking balls…like giant Israeli Couscous, but not.

Fergola Sarda Pasta

Fergola Sarda is pasta from the region of Sardinia, Italy. A staple in the Sardinian kitchen this little pasta is actually toasted in an oven which gives it a very rustic appearance & homey flavor. Don’t you love a new food find?

Using other ingredients on hand here is my recipe for “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas, and Pesto Salad”.

Ingredients I used:

1 cup Fergola Sarda Pasta cooked al dente according to the package directions; 1 cup Lady Peas (a variety of field peas which include among others Crowder peas, Butter beans, use any of these for this recipe) cooked; sliced Cucumbers & Avocados; quartered homegrown tomatoes; red onion slivers; the juice of 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper; freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 cup of your favorite homemade or store-bought pesto (1/2 cup for mixing in salad & 1/2 cup for serving) & a splash each of olive oil & white balsamic vinegar

Print Full Recipe Here

Fergola Sarda Pasta Ingredients

When the Fergola Sarda Pasta is cooked al dente & drained, pile it in a serving dish. I used a deep platter. The golden color is so appealing isn’t it? I am just a bit smitten.

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Ingredients for Fergola Sarda Pasta Salad

I really like the addition of raw onions to a dish such as this salad, but often not the overbearing strong flavor which can take over the others. Here is my tip for “sweetening the onion”. Put your sliced, diced, chopped onions in a bowl. Toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let sit for about 1/2 hour. Drain and add to your recipe. Taste one. You will be amazed at the way the lemon juice totally takes away the harshness of some onions.

red onions & lemon juice

Cooking Lady Peas for this salad is very easy. I rinse fresh peas & drain in a colander. I then cook them in a saucepan barely covered with water, adding some salt & pepper, a dash of garlic powder & a couple of pats of butter. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas have absorbed some of the liquid. Peas are ready for this salad when you press one between your fingers and it “gives”.  Drain cooked peas in a colander allowing to cool a few minutes.

Lady Peas

Add all remaining ingredients to pasta and toss gently.

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Serve immediately or chill for later. Dollop additional pesto on side of plates when serving as well as a generous grating of Parmesan. “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad” perfect as is for an entrée, would be a tasty companion to alongside grilled chicken for a dinner party.

Fergola Sarda, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad

Don’t work too hard this Labor Day, summer is fleeting, enjoy it. Stay Cool.

Spring Green Tonics

“Spring Tonic”

To celebrate Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox

On the third Thursday evening of each month I attend a dinner hosted by friends, Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins. It is appropriately called “Third Thursday” and is a potluck dinner party made up of many folks whose common love of interesting, healthy, local foods is the common thread.

March’s Third Thursday Dinner fell on St. Patrick’s Day. As you can imagine there were lots of dishes honoring “green”. Spinach, green beans, basil, avocado dishes were plentiful. For this occasion I created a “Spring Tonic”.  With cucumbers & lime juice as the main ingredients this “tonic” was the essence of “all things green”.

This tonic is easy to make, beautiful, refreshing, not too sweet and is like drinking a glass of spring.

What you will need:

To make approximately 1/2 gallon of Spring Tonic:

About 8 fresh cucumbers, 5 or 6 limes juiced, a piece of fresh ginger, 1 to 1.5 cups of raw sugar, 2 to 3 cups of your favorite white rum, about 1 cup of Midori liqueur and seltzer water or club soda. (Adjust to taste as you mix.)

Trim and peel cucumbers. Scrape seeds out with a spoon. Cut into chunks and place in food processor. You may have to do this in batches. Process until cucumbers are pureed with no chunks. Pour puree into a colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth or into a fine sieve sitting over a bowl to catch the cucumber juice. Use a rubber scraper to press the puree through the cheesecloth to get out most of the liquid.

When finished you should have about 3 cups of liquid.

This color of green is so beautiful like spring grass.

To make Gingered Simple Syrup: Peel ginger & cut into slices. Place ginger pieces, raw sugar + 1.2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a low boil, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat to cool.

As I was taking my Spring Tonic to a dinner party I made labels for two 1 qt containers to share the ingredients with guests.

To mix Spring Tonic:

Into each 1 quart container add half of the Cucumber liquid, half of the Midori, half of the fresh Lime Juice, half of the Gingered Simple Syrup with ginger pieces & half of the White Rum. Stir mixture in each container until well mixed. Cover and chill until ready to drink.

To Drink: Place ice in a glass, pour in some Spring Tonic & add a splash of seltzer water, club soda or mineral water with gas.

 

 

….. evening of greens….

While concocting your own “Spring Tonic” you could enjoy some music by the band “Tonic”. Check them out on itunes for a listen.

 

Herbal tonic is used to help restore, tone and invigorate systems in the body or to promote general health and well-being.
“get your motor running….drink Spring tonics!”