Basil Gazpacho with Homemade Crunchy Croutons

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This is  Helen’s Basil Gazpacho and Crunchy Crouton recipe and it is worth the trouble!  I am not saying you will need to grow your veggies in a garden like Helen’s –  see below – but according to Helen “If you want something good then you have to go to a lot of trouble and that’s just the way it is.”  Helen is an extraordinary cook, gardener, knitter and friend.  Thank you for doing this post with me Helen – now I have one of my favorite Helen creations down on the books.

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The reason you want the croutons to get extra crispy is so they stay crispy once they are put in the Gazpacho. This is the best Gazpacho so get ready!  Helen says “god help you if there are any leftover croutons because you will just sit there eating them.” It is SO true.

INGREDIENTS for Crunchy Croutons

1 day old free form loaf or baguette

3 – 6 T each – butter & olive oil,  – adjust amount depending on the size of the loaf.

s/p

garlic powder

onion powder

dried parsley

OR

use Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning as an alternative to the individual seasonings

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to Bake  300°
  2. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes
  3. Bake for 1 hour
  4. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet on Medium, add toasted bread and toss until well coated in oil and butter
  5. Turn heat to low, add spices and toss
  6. Remove from heat and set aside

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INGREDIENTS for Basil Gazpacho

Serves 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped

4 large or 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped with juice

2 garlic cloves minced

1 4 oz jar of pimento, drained

3 cup of vegetable stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 c white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

4 tablespoons basil, chopped

  1. Skin tomatoes: submerge tomatoes in hot water for 2 minutes, until skin cracks easily.  Cool and peel.
  2. Chop all the veggies and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add other ingredients and spices.
  4. Blend ingredients with a hand blender (or use a food processor) until you reach the right consistency.
  5. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  6. Garnish with herbs and Crunchy Croutons and serve chilled.

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Adriana’s Beet and Pesto Appetizer

Adriana is a friend, mother of two, photographer, cook, and NYC born local. She loves good food and we always cook when we are together.  We love to float around beautiful markets, talk about yummy things to make, choose special bottles of wine and celebrate into the night.

Since the start of nu-trio, Adriana has been eager to share one of her latest creations.  I couldn’t wait to try it.  Delicious, beautiful, healthy, and seasonal – this is an amazing appetizer!  Thanks, Adriana!

beet and pesto fork

Beet and Pesto Appetizer

Recipe by Adriana Echavarria

Ingredients:

3 large red beets peeled
*Pesto sauce (homemade recipe below)
Aged goat Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar

Preparation

Boil the beets. Make sure not to over cook them. Beets cook like potatoes – the larger the beet, the longer it will need to boil.   Overcooking the beets will make them lose their flavor and their consistency. Cook until you can easily pierce with a knife. This could take between 15 – 25 minutes. Let them cool.

Once they are room temperature cut them in slices, about a little less than ½ an inch. Three beets should give you approximately 10-12 slices.

After you have cut your slices place them on a serving dish. Beets are beautiful and decorative as well as tasty! Take ¼ teaspoon (I do ½ teaspoon but this might be too much for some) of the pesto and place it in the center of your beet slice. Take a slice of the goat cheese and place it on top of the pesto. Once you have finished decorating your beets drizzle the balsamic vinegar to taste. Ground some pepper and buen provecho!

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basil

Basil Pesto

Recipe by Adriana Echavarria

Ingredients

1 cup of Basil leaves
1 clove of garlic (I use two)
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1/4 cup of olive oil

Preparation

Place all of the above ingredients into your blender or food processor and pulse until all of the ingredients have been finely minced


Spring Market Salsa

Spring Market Salsa

Happy National Strawberry Month!

Here in Rabun Gap, we have a real jewel awakening this time of year. Our local produce market has just opened up, brimming with hundreds of bright, sweet strawberries picked from right out back, daily. I cannot get enough. I’m already a little sad about them trickling down and eventually disappearing in a month or so. But that’s silly. There is much more market-fresh produce to get excited about as the soil warms…

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These strawberries await mouth-watering dessert recipes,  crisp green salads, and buttery jams this month. We thought, however, that we would kick off this juicy sweet month with something a little out-of-the-ordinary for these berries. What about a salsa? Mmmm. Perfect.

Spring Market Salsa and Chip

The thing we played with the most in this recipe was the heat. The strawberries give this salsa a very sweet flavor, and we felt it needed a good bit of heat for balance. Feel free to adjust the heat to your liking; increase or decrease the cayenne as well as the jalapeño, and an additional suggestion would be to add a bit of this hot sauce. Suit yourself.

Grab a cold beer and go outside with this. Your corn chips are going to love it!

SPRING MARKET SALSA

 Adapted, loosely, from Cooking Light

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 C Fresh Strawberries, diced

1- 2 Avocados, diced

3/4 C Chopped Red Onion

1 Medium Yellow Tomato, diced

1 Jalapeño, seeded and chopped small

1/4 C Minced Cilantro

Juice of 2 Limes (about 1/4 C)

2 t Honey (we used orange blossom honey)

1 t Cayenne

* hot sauce to taste, optional

PREPARATION

Combine the first six ingredients (through cilantro) in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, juice the limes, add honey and cayenne. Whisk together until well-combined. Pour over ingredients in medium bowl and stir gently to combine. Enjoy!