Cucumber Cup Gazpacho Shots

 

Cucumber cup gazpacho

Cucumber cup gazpacho

 

Sorry, I have been terribly lazy of late! Seriously, what have I been doing? Nothing much. Besides work and watching anime and painting my Nausicaa model and eating a lot… nothing much at all. 

Perhaps it’s time for an end of summer post… I realize I have an affinity for cold foods. It’s not that I dislike hot food though, I just don’t shun cold things… I’m a warm (perhaps hot?) blooded human, after all. For some weird reason, things that should be eaten hot I often just eat at 4C. ie. from the fridge. Or even lower. I like salads, and cold, “liquid salads” are certainly great. OK, probably not to the point of the whole fadish veggie smoothies stuff, I’m talking about gazpachos! It is the end of summer, so there is not much chance left for this cold soup. 

I made this simple gazpacho from 1 tomato, 1/2 sweet Vadalia onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1t balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I used 1 long English cucumber and threw in the scoopings that came out of the cucumber cups. Just mix everything to a consistency of your liking in a food processor, and serve. I had quite a fun time with the cucumber cups. But you can just serve in an old fashion bowl, of course!

Grill pan | Grilled Scallops

I own one of those large panini press style “healthy” table top grills, which I occasionally bring out for things like pork medallions, slabs of chicken, shellfish. Occasionally would be the key word here, let’s just say it’s a bit of hassle to clean up. So, a more handy stove top grill pan has been on my wish list for quite some time. I recently bought one and I love it. I can use it to grill bread, make sandwiches, or for things like this:

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Grill pan. With shrimp in it.

Or grilling scallops… HMMMMMMMMMM:
 

Grilled scallops

Grilled scallops

When I grill scallops, I buy fresh, large sea scallops, and don’t add anything to them except for a tiny bit of salt and pepper. The scallops will release their own scallopy juices and, combined with the dark color and aroma you can only get from a grill, taste totally awesome. With this grill pan, I don’t have to wait for sunny weather to enjoy my scallops! This time, I added a bit of color using some chopped red bell peppers, and green onions and lemon balm that came from my garden. I wish I had more of this to go on top, more like a tapenade, because it looked so pretty like that, and it wasn’t so strong tasting that it stole the show from the scallops at all.

Lima bean “humous”

 

lima bean "humous"

lima bean "humous"

 

If you can make humous out of chickpeas, you can make it from any other bean. I haven’t attempted the edamame puree that has been rather popular with foodies, though I probably should since there are always bags of edamame in the freezer. I like to snack on them as is though. So I resorted to killing some other beans. I tried making a lima bean puree (since I couldn’t see making a snack of of lima beans). 

This is a low-fat version, though I guess you could always add a spoonful of olive oil to help the pureeing process. I found a bit of water was enough, but the texture is for sure a bit more coarse without oil. I used this as a spread on crackers and it was OK. It didn’t lack flavor but I think it was slightly on the bland side, then again, adding more stuff to it would definitely make it too complex. I think this would be best suited for crackers that are flavored.

 

Lima Bean “Humous”

1 can lima beans

2 cloves garlic

1t cumin

1/2t salt

 

Blend all in food processor. Serve immediately or refrigerate in air tight container (should last a few days).

Quick Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

 

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

It is summer! And strawberries!

I think of parfaits as breakfast food, typically because all its ingredients (yogurt, granola, fruit) are associated with breakfast. But this was a nice, super quick dessert on a hot night. I love yogurty desserts like this: crunchy granola, sweet fruit, cold gooey yogurt. It is so healthy, yet desserty at the same time! Of course, if you wanted to indulge you could sub the yogurt with ice cream. And you can layer it with whatever fruit or granola or cereal you desire. Though berries are the best choice. I just happened to have some fresh local strawberries from W&A Farms on hand, and some yogurt and granola. Just layer, and repeat. 

Parfaits are fun to make! You can dress it up pretty fancy Gourmet-cover-shot style, but I think it will turn out pretty decent looking even if you’re just throwing things together randomly and messily like I did here. Just find a pretty glass. You can’t really go wrong. Great for entertaining when time (and skill) are limiting! 😉

Zucchini blossoms stuffed with shrimp and garlic

The first time I heard about zucchini blossoms was on an episode of Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill, where he fried these yellow squash blossoms that were stuffed with pork and cheese. I have never seen them in markets here, but finally came across these beautiful blossoms at the Steveston’s Farmer’s Market this Sunday. (More posts about the Market later! Stay tuned!)

 

Since I’ve never tried them before, I only bought a few flowers. I got about 1/2 a dozen for 50 cents! I’m going back to get more for sure. I didn’t cook them like most people do, ie. batter, deep fry in oil, because, heck, I am always looking for the healthier way out. Since I happened to have bought over a pound of fresh shrimp from one of the boats parked at the Steveston Pier that day, I decided to stuff these blossoms with a few of the smaller shrimp I had. And nothing else accents shrimp like garlic. So it was a whole clove of garlic too. It was great! 

 

 

Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed With Shrimp and Garlic:

1. Cut the stems off the blossoms and soak the blossoms in water/ rinse very well but very gently. Rip out the stamen/ style/stigma inside. Pat them dry on a piece of paper towel.

2. Carefully place a small shrimp (cooked, I used fresh, but can be from frozen) inside the blossom, then place a clove of garlic on top of the shrimp. If one clove is too much for you, just mince some up and throw a bit in instead.

3. Twist the top of the blossom to close. 

4. Grill on high for about 5 minutes, turning once (again, careful, because it’s easy to un-twist the blossom and have everything fall out.)

5. Eat! Just stuff the whole blossom into your mouth!

Usher in the grilling season! Grilled scallops and prawns

The weather is co-operating, finally. Went down to the Steveston Farmer’s Market this weekend and bought some Mizuno greens, butter lettuce and grape tomatos. Local veggies are so fresh and good! Got some fresh sea scallops and prawns and grilled them outside. (Yes, OUTSIDE! Wow, Vancouver!) I love grilled scallops and prawns – it’s so simple, you just chuck them on the grill, don’t even have to season them with anything – just a sprinkle of ground pepper afterwards, it’s the best way to enjoy them. So sweet. And eating a nice, refreshing meal out under a gazebo? Added bonus!

grilled scallops and prawn

Grilled scallops and prawn on a bed of Mizuno greens and butter lettuce

 

Grilling season is exciting! And we have a woodpecker in the neighbourhood. I’ve never seen him though, but I can hear him often. 

Asparagus dressed with Sole

Pretty, pretty. I love asparagus. I love Spring.


This is pretty simple. Bought some fresh sole fillets, wrap asparagus along with some sliced white mushrooms inside. S and P. Bake. Yummy.