Sunday, August 31, 2014

Easy Kale Gazpacho and "The Princess Bride" Fig Tree

Summer Soup and Salad

Labor Day weekend used to mark the end of summer and the start of the school year, but that’s no longer the case in many places these days.  With school districts opening in early August, the holiday weekend provides little more than a welcome day off.  For some, it means the end of swim season as pools shut down—but—some parks and swim clubs allow for a “dog day” after the humans leave.  The pooches get one glorious day in the pool before it is drained, cleaned, etc.  Our four Cavaliers would never go for such a thing. They don’t even like the little wading pool we bought them.  Too bad.  

Summer has been relatively polite this year, given the recent record-setting heat waves and drought conditions we’ve endured.  Remember that sad little fig tree I showed you in a previous post?  Turns out it wasn’t dead after all.  Just like the hero Westley in the “The Princess Bride,” it had been only “mostly dead” until midsummer.  Good news, but probably no fruit for at least a year or two.  

Michel is not much of a movie fan, but he did like the late Peter Falk who narrated the immensely popular “Princess Bride” film.  Some people think Michel looks a little like Peter Falk, others think he looks like Al Franken.
Sometimes I think Michel looks like Placido Domingo, while his youngest grandson called out “It’s Grandpa!” when he spotted Itzhak Perlman on television performing at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
via Susan Walsh  inauguration_music_1245705c

Here's the "mostly dead" video snippet in case you're one of the millions of people who can't get enough of this beloved 1987 movie. This opening image is of course Andre the Giant--who can't possibly be confused with anyone else.  

So if you’re feeling mostly dead after a summer’s day and cooking is the LAST thing you want to do, here is Michel's quick and easy recipe for a delicious and refreshing summer soup. It's also chock-full of nutritious goodness. Vegans, skip the cheese and add your favorite garnish. 

Kale Cucumber Avocado Gazpacho

You will need:

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½   teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ½ bunch kale, removed from stems and cut into medium-sized pieces
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks/[p
  • Shredded pecorino cheese for topping (optional)
In a blender:
·       Add water and coarsely chopped garlic.
·       Liquefy until garlic is completely dissolved.
·       Add kale and liquefy.
·       Add cucumber chunks, avocado, salt and pepper
·       Liquefy, adding a little water if needed. There should be no chunks or lumps.
·       Taste for seasoning, adding more salt/pepper if needed.

Pour into serving bowls and top with cheese.  Yum!

You might enjoy serving this with a fruit-arugula salad like the one I made (yes, I made it) with seasonal items (figs, peaches, strawberries, blueberries) and feta cheese.  Top with a drizzle of agave and fig balsamic vinegar. The nasturtiums were a gift from a gardening friend.  Their peppery taste goes nicely with the baby arugula.