Summertime and the Cooking is Easy

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Summertime is perfect for cool food especially when the temperature soars as it has these last few days.

So we’ll start our meal with a cool soup. As they say…”cool as a cucumber.”

Technically gazpacho is a Spanish-style soup made from tomatoes and other vegetables and spices, served cold. But today all kinds of cold vegetable soups are called gazpacho.

summertimeCucumber Gazpacho (8-10 small servings)

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

  • In a food processor, combine cucumbers, onions, lemon juice, parsley and salt. Pulse to finely chop.
  • With processor running, slowly add olive oil and blend until smooth.
  • Thin to desired consistency with water.
  • Chill 30 minutes or up to 2 hours before serving.
  • Garnish with additional diced or thinly sliced cucumber.

STREAMLINED DIRECTIONS: Put everything into a deep bowl or pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. This works especially well when making large amounts of soup.

NOTES:  This is a mildly seasoned soup. If you prefer more robust seasoning, add additional salt, some garlic, mustard, pepper, a jalepeno pepper or two or even rice vinegar. Garnish with green onions.

 

If zucchini is starting to take over your garden or the bright new squash call out to you at the market, here’s a new take on the great summer vegetable. And there’s no cooking involved.

summertime2Zucchini Ribbon Salad

INGREDIENTS
There are no amounts given for the ingredients as this is a salad that adapts to each cook’s taste and on hand ingredients.

Zucchini
Red onion, thinly sliced
Fennel bulb, thinly sliced
Grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
Oil
Vinegar
Arugula (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut off stem and blossom ends of zucchini and using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, slice the zucchini into thin lengthwise strips.
  2. Thinly slice the onion with a sharp knife or mandolin.
  3. Core and thinly slice the fennel bulb with a sharp knife or mandolin.
  4. Mix all together in a pretty bowl.
  5. Dress with olive oil and vinegar of your choice.
  6. Top with cheese.
  7. Mix in arugula if desired.

NOTE: A wide shallow bowl will show off the colors of this salad beautifully. A little lemon juice and some crunchy pine nuts are good additions to the salad. Feta cheese and fresh oregano could even replace the Parmesan. Add other sliced veggies such as carrots. Enhance the salad with avocado slices.

 

Here’s a simple main dish- or even winter appetizer- that’s simple to make and is well-seasoned. And everyone likes meatballs. This dish cooked perfectly in my countertop oven and the kitchen stayed cool.

summertime3Baked Asian Flavored Chicken (or Turkey) Meatballs  (6-8 servings)

INGREDIENTS
Meatballs

2 pounds ground chicken or turkey or a combination
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panic bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon minced ginger or more to taste
2 Tablespoons chopped scallions

Sauce

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar pinch of red pepper flakes or 1 teaspoon Asian-style hot sauce

DIRECTIONS
Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and scallions in a bowl. Add egg and mix.
  • Add meat and panic. Mix with hands until thoroughly combined.
  • Fill as small bowl with cold water to dip hands into between rolling. Roll mixture into 20-30 meatballs. Make small meatballs for appetizers and larger ones for a main course.
  • Place meatballs on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Using tongs, turn meatballs over to brown other side. (They will have flattened a little) and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven; cool.

Sauce

  • Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.
  • Cook over medium high heat until sauce has reduced and thickens slightly.
  • Combine sauce with meatballs. Top with additional scallions if desired.

NOTES: Serve with rice, noodles, or ramen and sauce, of course. To serve as an appetizer, stick a skewer into each meatball.

BATAYAVON!

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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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