Cool as a …

imagesMaybe you are some of the lucky ones who live in old houses but have air-conditioning. I’m not.

The last thing I want to do none of these beastly hot, humid days we’ve been having is to do REAL cooking.

Cucumbers seem to be the perfect main dish, accompaniment or ingredient for summer meals.

By definition, gazpacho is a cold tomato based Spanish-style soup made with vegetables and spices. But there’s no reason other vegetables can’t be adapted to the same type of soup. This cucumber gazpacho is refreshing and incredibly easy to make as are most recipes from Jamie Oliver. No cooking involved.

Cucumber Gazpacho (8-10 small servings)


4 cups English or hothouse cucumber, diced plus extra for garnish

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup olive oil

1 1/2-2 cups water


1. In a food processor, combine cucumbers, onions, lemon juice, parsley and salt.

2. Pulse to finely chop.

3. With processor running, slowly add olive oil and blend until smooth.

4. Thin to desired consistency with water.

5. Chill 30 minutes or up to 2 hours before serving.

6. Garnish with additional diced or thinly sliced cucumber.

NOTES: To avoid the hassle of emptying and refilling the food processor bowl, put all the ingredients (including the olive oil and water) in a large bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. A little mint is a nice touch or even some chopped Greek olives.

A nice hearty salad  from the vegetarian website Cookie and Kate could round

out this summer meal. This salad was a hit at a recent kiddush. Use the freshest

greens for the most crunch and personalize the salad to your taste. Amounts of each

ingredient are flexible. Make it your own.  You’re the chef


Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad

( serves 6-8 as an appetizer)


10 ounces chopped romaine (about 2-3 medium heads)

1/2 medium head of radicchio (about 2 cups)

1/2 medium red onion,finely chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced

1/3 c stemmed and thinly sliced pickled pepperoncino peppers

1/3 c. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and roughly chopped

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinse and drained

1 c (4 ounces) provolone cheese in 1/4” cubes (optional)


1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/3 c. red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

10 twists freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. In a large bowl combine  the salad ingredients.
  2. Toss and set aside.
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a liquid measuring cup.
  4. Whisk until blended.
  5. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  6. Dress the salad when ready to use.

NOTES: Omit the cheese for a vegan salad or use vegan “cheese.” Add Italian tuna or chicken instead of cheese. Omit the radicchio if you don’t like bitter greens. Use arugala. For color, use red cabbage instead or add some diced red pepper.

Substitute green olives for sun-dried tomatoes. Add marinated artichoke hearts.

For dessert, cool, sweet watermelon cut into sticks is perfect. Follow the pictures below to learn how to cut a watermelon into perfect melon pops. YUM!


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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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