WanderFood Wednesday: Gazpacho

by Samantha Scott
( August 5th, 2014 )

Tomato and Fennel Gazpacho

Incredibly versatile, this delicious cold soup is one of the best ways to cool off in the hot summer months. Traditionally tomato based, the best gazpachos I’ve tasted have a delightful tangyness and a burst of flavor surrounded by subtle tones of spice or other vegetables woven throughout the main base. This base doesn’t have to be tomato either. Here are 4 modern interpretations of gazpacho, all of which are just making my mouth water! Is it lunch time yet? ...

Watermelon: A fairly popular chilled soup in the sweeter range, watermelon just begs to be paired with something peppery or spicy. Because watermelon has such a unique flavor, combinations can be tricky for a gazpacho base, but many recipes, such as this one make use of a lot of different flavors, including serrano chile for the spice…mmm!

Cucumber: A perfect veggie for gazpacho for its freshness and propensity for showing up in all sorts of summer coolers, such as cocktails. Cucumber is paired a lot with basil and gazpacho is no exception. Here is a recipe with a refreshingly simple approach, letting the cucumber shine!

Avocado: My list would not be complete without one of my absolute favorite summer foods. Avocado creates a thick, creamy gazpacho, and paired with tomato as a base helps give it even more dimension. This recipe sounds amazing and is vegan to boot! Alternatively, avocado makes a to-die-for garnish as in the Tomato Fennel Gazpacho pictured below.

Tomato Fennel Gazpacho at Spruce Restaurant, SF

Bell Pepper: For a more earthy take on Gazpacho, roasted bell peppers are the perfect choice. This recipe sounds incredible!

Gazpacho is your classic mix and match kind of offering. There are endless combinations of flavors, spices and garnishes. What are some of your favorites?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

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Fun and Different Uses for Olive Oil…It’s Not Just for Drizzling Anymore!

by Samantha Scott
( August 1st, 2014 )

Olive Oil

My mom owned a specialty Olive Oil shop for a while and I had the pleasure of working for her for a couple summers during college. One of my favorite things to talk about with customers, and to learn myself, was the multitude of uses for olive oil.

Tasting 


If you’ve never attended an olive oil tasting, I’d highly recommend it. It’s a great way to get a feel for the nuances between different olive oils. And don’t be squeamish about sipping olive oil straight; this is actually the best way to taste! It can be a little odd when you’re not used to it, but it’s a worthwhile exercise. Tasting oil with bread actually changes the quality of the oil so you don’t get a true sense of the taste and flavor qualities. Some are quite bright and grassy, some are very peppery and stick in the back of your throat, some are dark and smooth. Plus the nutritional values of olive oil are so numerous, having a spoonful a day is an excellent health regimen!


Olive Oil Tasting

Infused


If you’re a fan of infused olive oils, did you know you can very easily make your own? Infused olive oils you might purchase tend to go bad much earlier than un-infused oils, so making your own is a really great alternative. Here is a good resource to get you started: How to Infuse Olive Oils.

With Ice Cream (yes really)


One very unusual, but scrumptious, use for olive oil is over ice cream. A silky, not too peppery, olive oil drizzled over vanilla ice cream gives a unique taste unlike anything else. And olive oil is becoming a popular ingredient for making ice cream as well, resulting in a lighter tasting dessert perfect for a hot summer night.

As a Butter Substitute


Olive oil is a fantastic (and healthier!) substitute for butter and great when used in baking. Cakes, muffins, pie crust, all can be be made with olive oil instead of butter and usually come out lighter and less dense. Depending on the olive oil you use, you can have a stronger oil taste or go a more subtle route. Just be careful you get the conversions right. As a general rule, you need less olive oil than you would need butter. Here is a handy conversion chart to get you started.


Sour Cherry Olive Oil Cake


For Healthy Skin


Aside from food there are a multitude of other uses for olive oil. Using it regularly on your skin helps keep it soft and healthy. And here’s an insider tip: got a bad sunburn? Olive oil will sooth the burning, help repair the skin and make the healing process a heck of a lot quicker and more comfortable. I can personally vouch for this. When I was traveling through Cartagena, Columbia, I got one of the worst sunburns I’ve ever had. The only thought I had in my head as we made our way back to our apartment was “get olive oil.” Fumbling my way through with rudimentary Spanish I managed to find some and coveted it for the rest of the trip. And it worked!

What are some of your favorite uses for olive oil?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credits


Olive Oil Tasting: Visit Tuscany via Flickr

Sour Cherry Olive Oil Cake: Maggie via Flickr

2 comments
 

WanderFood Wednesday: Traditional Caprese Salad

by Samantha Scott
( July 29th, 2014 )

Caprese Salad with Basil and Vinegar

One of my favorite summer meals is a fresh traditional Caprese salad. Heirloom tomatoes have a limited season, and are one of the true joys of summer for me. Another fantastic find at farmers markets, they are just perfect right now!

It only takes a quick journey through Pinterest to find out just how many iterations of Caprese are out there, all worth trying. But a traditional Caprese salad will always have a special place in my heart, hearkening up memories of backyard BBQ’s home from school for the summer, using home-grown freshly picked tomatoes and basil. This salad is a perfect accompaniment to BBQ steak, paired with a deep and flavorful red wine. Enjoy!

Whole Farmers Market Heirloom Tomatoes

1. Cut two or three medium Heirloom tomatoes into slices, about 1/4 inch thick.

Caprese Salad Heirloom Tomatoes

2. Arrange on a long thin platter, white helps show off their bright colors!

Caprese Salad Step Three

3. Cut fresh mozzarella into slices, also about 1/4 inch thick and arrange on platter in-between tomato slices.

Caprese Salad Step Four

4. Chop a good amount of fresh basil and sprinkle over tomatoes and mozzarella. 5. Add a generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.

Caprese with Balsamic Vinegar and Basil

6. Lastly drizzle with good-quality balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

Caprese Salad

TIPS

1) Use the freshest, firmest heirlooms you can find. Heirloom tomatoes can tend to get very soft very quickly when they’re not truly in season, and often the ones you find at the grocery story have an unappetizing mushy, mealy quality, so definitely give your local farmers market a try!

2) Use good mozzarella. If you can, seek out a local cheese shop and ask what they recommend. We used Cowgirl Creamery (you may remember my Unhealthy Obsession with Artisan Cheese), and it was, as always, delicious.

3) Make sure your knife is very sharp. Heirlooms are soft by nature and can sometimes be difficult to cut cleanly. Having a nice, sharp knife makes all the difference!

Eat Well, Travel Well ~Samantha

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