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Ellen’s Kitchen & Garden

Soup, salad make great use of this season’s veggies

Posted Friday,
July 27, 2012
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By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

If you have a garden, right about now you’re wondering what to do with all of vegetables that have practically appeared overnight.

Mine is producing tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and green peppers galore – just what one needs to make a wonderful gazpacho. This soup is a favorite of mine, especially on a hot day. It’s easy to make, with no cooking involved. And, gazpacho keeps for several days in the refrigerator.


2 large cucumbers
2 green peppers, cored and seeded
4 large tomatoes or 8 plum tomatoes
1 small red onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced (equal to 1 tablespoon)
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 small can (11-½ ounces) of V-8 Juice (optional)

First taste each cucumber to make sure it’s not bitter. If one is, peeling it might get rid of the bitterness. Cut the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and red onions all into one-inch pieces.

Using the steel blade in your food processor, coarsely chop each vegetable and then transfer to a large bowl. Once all of the vegetables are chopped and in the bowl, add the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend well.

At this point taste it for consistency and seasoning. You might find you like it thicker, or want to leave it alone. But I’ve found one small can of V-8 thins it ever so slightly.

None of the measurements has to be exact, but this is a great place to start. As with most any soup the longer it chills or rests, the better it tastes.

Before serving, stir again. For finishing touch, add a dollop of sour cream and garnish with some fresh chopped chives or avocado.

Caprese Salad

This is the easiest of salads you’ll ever make and probably one of the best tasting.

Nothing is better than a fresh red tomato, just picked from the garden. The other day I was slicing one that was still warm from the sun. They don’t get any fresher or better than that.

Insalata Caprese (Salad of Capri) or Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
Serves 4-6

3-4 ripe large tomatoes (3 inches in diameter)
1 pound of fresh mozzarella cheese
¼ cup of fresh basil
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Kalamata olives (optional)

Cut the tomatoes slices of a ¼-inch thick or so and arrange on a plate.

Slice the cheese ¼-inch thick as well and place on the tomatoes. If you have large basil leaves place one on top of each stack as shown in the picture or cut the leaves and sprinkle on. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and garnish with Kalamata olives.
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