watermelon gazpacho

Yes, once again it has been months since I’ve posted a recipe. Insert excuses here: full time dietetic internship + planning a wedding…. yadda yadda yadda. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is visible! And that means (hopefully) lots more recipes come September.

Summer is upon us (technically as of this coming Saturday) and tonight is particularly muggy and gross in my lovely NYC. When hot weather hits, I love a good gazpacho. Last month when the first really hot night happened, I made a white gazpacho, which was cucumber and almond based. There’s a great coffee shop/sandwich place in our neighborhood that has been touting its watermelon gazpacho on a chalkboard outside, and every time we walk by, we go “mmmmm, we should make that.” So tonight, I did!

photo 1I used a Tyler Florence recipe to get a sense of what the general proportions should be, and then blended away. It’s super simple:

  • about 2 medium plum tomatoes
  • 2-2 1/2 cups fresh watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 cucumber (seeded if you use a regular cucumber; you don’t really have to seed it if you use an English cucumber – the long skinny ones)
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chile (2 if you love it spicy like I do)
  • a small handful of fresh dill
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

photo 3

Roughly chop your ingredients and toss everything in a food processor or blender, setting aside about 1/3-1/2 the watermelon first. Add more of various ingredients to taste (I added more salt, jalapeno, and vinegar after the first blend). Serve in chilled bowls, garnished with feta cheese and dill!

As an aside, NewYork-Presbyterian, the hospital at which I do my dietetic internship, has an Herb of the Month program – and dill just happens to be the June Herb of the Month!

a simple summer pizza & salad

Even though the thought of turning my oven up to 500 in the summer makes me want to take an ice bath, I really wanted to make a simple summer pizza for dinner. I found this recipe for Caramelized Onion & Artichoke Pizza from Eating Well, and paired it with a salad of heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, avocado, and basil, dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and ground coriander. Actually I used one yellow heirloom tomato, and a bunch of really fresh organic sliced grape tomatoes. I also bought pre-cut watermelon (if you think I’m buying a whole watermelon to tackle in a kitchen without counter space, you’re crazy). You could also add feta, or any sort of similar cheese, to this if you wanted.

Heirloom tomato & watermelon salad

For the pizza, I didn’t use the dough recipe they suggested. I wanted to use whole wheat dough, and intended to make it myself (you can just google whole wheat pizza dough recipes and find one you like), until I realized I was running out of time and ended up cheating and buying a round of pre-made whole wheat dough from one of my favorite stores, Union Market. Despite a few frustrations rolling out the dough (again, counter space… and the fact that my rolling pin is used to hold the window open), and the oven filling my apartment with smoke, it was a success! Really delicious. (And note: without the sprinkling of parmesan cheese, it would be totally vegan).

Caramelized onion & artichoke pizza

when it’s too hot to cook: shrimp ceviche

When it’s 98 degrees out and I have no air conditioning in my apartment, office, or car, the last thing I want is hot food. So I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make ceviche, which I’ve been wanting to experiment with for a while. I decided to go with a shrimp variety, just because I didn’t feel like journeying all the way to the really nice fish market to get something extra fresh, like red snapper, sea bass, or scallops, which wouldn’t be cooked first. The issue with ceviche is that the the fruit juice “cooks” the fish with acid, but doesn’t kill bacteria, so the fish has to be sushi-quality fresh. With shrimp though, you can flash boil it and then toss it in ice water before marinating it in juices.

For my ceviche, I started with a pound of shelled deveined medium shrimp. I removed the tails and

Refreshing shrimp ceviche with avocado, cucumber, jalapeno, and red onion

boiled them in a large pot with two tablespoons of salt for just about one minute until they turned pink, and then quickly put them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. I then chopped them into smaller pieces an marinated them in the refrigerator (using a glass bowl, not metal) in the juice of six limes and two lemons for half an hour. Then I added a cup of finely chopped red onion and two minced jalapeno peppers (serrano would be even better, but I couldn’t find one that day) and marinated for an additional half hour. Right before serving, I tossed in a cup of fresh chopped cilantro, a diced cucumber, and chunks of avocado.

While delicious, it needed a bit of a sweet kick. Next time I will definitely add a bit of orange juice to the marinade, and maybe some diced mango! Also, this was enough for two main course servings and two full days of leftovers, so if you’re just going for appetizer sizes, cut the recipe in half unless it’s a big crowd.