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Watermelon Gazpacho with Fresh Basil Cream

gazpacho 4

Every once in a while, we need a fresh start.

In order to grow, we need to every so often challenge ourselves, sweep the cobwebs, shake out the rug and take inventory of what we have. And most important, we need to determine whether what we have is what we really want.

You might have noticed my site looks a little different than it did the last time you visited. It’s fresher, brighter and a better reflection of the kind of person I really am and continue to strive to be.

Over the years, this blog has been a resource for me – it’s grounded me, taught me how to cook and given me opportunities I never would have had otherwise. In turn, I’m going to make this blog a resource for you. I’ll be incorporating short how-to videos and offering more instruction on how to make cooking healthier, easier and more enjoyable, and I’ll continue to share the recipes I’m concocting in my own kitchen.

I want to help you rediscover your kitchen as the creative oasis that it is. I want you to take joy in cooking and view dinner as something to be savoured each and every day – not something to dread the minute the five o’clock hunger pangs come along.

Please let me know what you think of the new look – I’d love to hear your thoughts! And special thanks to my friend, graphic designer and illustrator Bianca DiPietro, for creating my adorable logo at the top. For more of her work, check out her website.

I created this refreshing soup a few weeks ago, when we were suffering through a pretty intense heat wave here in Toronto and my stove and I just weren’t getting along that well. It’s a great mid-afternoon cool-me-down for those days when it really is just too bloody hot to eat, let alone cook, and it literally comes together in just a few steps. The basil cream is an indulgent and delicious topper, but totally optional. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Chop your watermelon into medium-size cubes.

watermelon chopped

2. Peel and halve cucumbers lengthwise and remove seeds by running a spoon along the middle of each half.

seed cucumber

3. Purée it all in a food processor with lemon juice and white balsamic for a hint of acidity… and that’s it!

purée

Watermelon Gazpacho with Fresh Basil Cream
Serves 6 to 8.

Serve this chilled soup as a refreshing light summer lunch, or spoon it into small mason jars for a cute dessert option!

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups cubed watermelon
3 cups peeled, seeded and roughly chopped cucumber
2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

Basil Cream
1 cup heavy (35%) cream
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (TIP: Basil bruises and browns quickly, so wait until you’re ready to fold the basil into the cream before you chop it.)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a food processor or blender, purée watermelon, cucumber, lemon juice and vinegar until smooth. (TIP: You may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your food processor or blender.) Refrigerate until chilled.

2. In a large chilled bowl, add cream. With an electric hand mixer or whisk, beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in basil.

3. Serve gazpacho in chilled bowls with a dollop of basil cream. Garnish with avocado.

Enjoy!

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Veggie Fricot and Dumplings

There comes a time in every relationship when you have to decide if what you have is worth fighting for, if the good times really do outweigh the bad.

Resentment grows slowly when you don’t have much to say. Then the slightest thing can make you crumble.

Our apartment’s become a battle ground, our voices ammunition. Neither of us have bothered to realize we’re fighting for the same thing.

It’s been two straight days of silence now. We’ve lost the will to try.

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes you can’t forget the past, no matter how hard you try.

Sometimes words won’t go away, and all you have left is tears. Sometimes the hardest thing is to just let go.

When you love someone for so long, you start to lose yourself. You shave off the rough edges to make that person fit. But those rough edges are what make you who you are.

I shaved off too much, allowed myself to disappear. I need to learn to breathe without him, for the sake of both of us. I need to find out who I am before I let him in.

It wouldn’t be fair to say I lost myself to him. When we met, I had no idea who I was.

But I never really got the chance to learn.

Tools

dutch oven
cutting board
large kitchen knife
wooden spoon
measuring cups
measuring spoons

Ingredients

Soup
4 cups cold water
4 tablespoons butter
one large onion
3 cups potatoes
1 cup carrots
1 cup spiral noodles
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon summer savory
pepper to taste

Dumplings
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2- 3/4 cup cold water

Instructions

Pour water into the dutch oven and heat to a boil. Add butter. Chop onion into cubes and add to pot. Cut up the potatoes and carrots into small chunks. Add to water. Let boil on medium heat for a half hour to 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Add noodles, summer savory and salt and let boil for another 10-15 minutes. Add pepper to taste.

To make dumplings, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add water and mix well with a fork. Once thoroughly mixed, drop by the spoonful into soup and let cook, cover on, for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!