I’ve had these photos in store, but it’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and put together a decent set of words.
There’s probably just a handful of days left in DC for grabbing summer tomatoes — run! do so quickly! — so I figured I needed to post this recipe ASAP.
It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks, filled with freelancing and negotiating photo rights, but I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend filled with yoga, sleep, and reading. I’m putting a do-not-disturb sign on my life. Have a great fall weekend! Xo.
It’s barbecue season, and I was missing my beloved Weber grill last weekend. Before I moved into my first apartment in college, my dad took it upon himself to teach me how to use a charcoal grill — because nothing beats a burger cooked in your own backyard over a charcoal grill.
Since then, he’s upgraded to his own outdoor poolside kitchen, complete with an obscenely productive vegetable garden. Oh, to have a California summer. I do miss unlimited tomatoes!
Anyway, I had the day off today, so I got to catch up on sleep, cleaning, and a workout after a weekend filled with food and sailing. Hope you’re all having a lovely Monday! Xo.
Whenever I visit my family in California, I try to take advantage of the outdoor grill they have. It’s always entertaining to think of the days before my dad learned to cook — a couple of the stories came up over breakfast this morning. The sloppy joe fiasco, the hilarious lunches he made for Sean and me, and the items that his bachelor fridge was filled with: Trader Joe’s taquitos, Hoffy hot dogs, individual packages of lunch meat, and string cheese.
That was our diet when we visited Dad.
These days, he is quite the chef. His outdoor grill was a pretty good investment. At the moment, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Ridgecrest, California — Dad’s truck had car trouble at the Indian Wells Brewing Company (Dad’s favorite brewery), so Sean and I have been carting the family around in the second car. Thankfully, we decided to take two cars!
While I’d much rather be somewhere in the high Sierras already, taking a moment to edit photos and schedule some blogs is relatively therapeutic.
Anyway, I made this gazpacho before we left for our Eastern Sierra road trip. It should make a good lunch on a lake, while in a canoe. I’m hoping I get to meet some puppies. Or cowboys. That would be nice, too.
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled 3 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds) 1 medium cucumber (the weird cucumber in my photo is a Syrian cucumber from my dad’s garden) 2 green bell pepper 1 medium sweet onion, unpeeled 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 2 tablespoons white vinegar 1 cup cold water Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wrap your garlic cloves in a piece of aluminum or tin foil. Heat a grill on high, and grill the tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onion, and garlic, turning so that the skin of each piece is completely charred — it should take about 10 to 15 minutes. If you don’t have access to a grill, just use the broiler in your oven, and keep an eye on the vegetable skin. You want them charred.
Set the vegetables in a bowl, and cover with saran wrap to let them steam and cool.
Once you can touch them, peel away and discard the charred skins, and slice the vegetables into chunks that fit into your food processor. Go ahead and pulse grind them until you have a vegetable puree with a consistency that you desire — I wanted a finer ground salsa consistency. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until cool. Serve with salt and pepper, and a good piece of toast.
My stepmom put me in charge of carrots for Christmas dinner this year. Thank god, because I normally hate cooked carrots. This was their chance, I thought. Carrots might just be able to redeem themselves this year…
They totally did.
When I was going to school in Santa Barbara, California, one of my close friends had a job at Blenders, a local smoothie chain. She’d always swing by with smoothies after a shift, of various experiments she’d concoct in her down time. Once, I had been deathly ill, and she made a fabulous smoothie composed of mostly orange and carrot juice. From that day on, I was hooked. It was my personal form of crack. I’ve never been able to resist an orange-carrot based smoothie ever since. It became the inspiration for this spicy version of half-cooked carrots (honestly, who likes mushy carrots?).
I wanted to pair something savory with the roast that was planned for dinner. Warning: the carrots definitely have a sharp bite to them! But you can alter the amount of cayenne to your particular tastes to adjust that.
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 pound carrots, washed and peeled
1-1/2 cups orange juice
1 orange or lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
mandarin oranges for garnish
WHAT TO DO:
For the glaze, juice the orange or the lemon into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Then mix the remaining ingredients with a whisk. Cover and let sit while you prepare the carrots.
Slice the carrots diagonally into quarter-inch discs. Pile them into a large saucepan with the orange juice, and add just enough water to cover all of the carrots. Let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots are slightly tender (but not soft). Remove the carrots and strain over the sink. Toss the carrots in the dressing, and serve in a large bowl. Garnish with mandarin oranges. The oranges add a nice contrast to offset the spicy glaze.