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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cooking Light for helping me become the foodie I am today.  In 1999, I started subscribing and thanks to CL, I have learned SO much about cooking.  I'm posting this (Cooking Light July 2011 recipe) in early August when gardeners are picking ripe tomatoes, cukes, cilantro & jalepeños each day.  What better use for them than a tasty gazpacho?  This one is spicy, so cut back on the jalepeños if you wish.  Grilling the veggies first gives this sopa (that's Spanish for soup!) a nice flavor.  ¡Buen provecho!


  • 3 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut in half crosswise (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 onion, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (1-ounce) piece French bread baguette, cut into 2 slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups thinly sliced, quartered English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves


  • 1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • 2. Brush cut sides of tomatoes and onion slices with 1 tablespoon oil. Lightly coat bread with cooking spray. Place bread on grill rack, and grill 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until toasted. Remove from grill. Place peppers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 8 minutes or until blistered, turning peppers after 4 minutes. Remove peppers from grill. Place peppers in a small paper bag; fold tightly to seal. Let stand for 20 minutes. Arrange onion on grill rack; grill for 10 minutes. Turn onion over. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill onion and tomatoes 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers.
  • 3. Combine 2 tablespoons oil, bread, grilled vegetables, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and garlic in a blender; process until smooth. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cucumber, and remaining ingredients; toss. Ladle about 2/3 cup soup in each of 6 bowls, and top each serving with about 1/3 cup cucumber mixture.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sliced Steak Soft Taco Sliders with Guaca-Salsa

This one came from Rachael Ray.  She is one of my favorite cooks, and she doesn't let us down with this tasty & flavorful dish!  It's extra good with fresh veggies & herbs from the garden.

  • 4 small flatiron steaks (6 to 7 oz. each) or 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 lbs. flank steak, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil, for coating
  • 1 tsp. ancho (mild) or chipotle (hot) chile powder
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning or salt and pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, flesh scooped from the skin
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tomatillos (or one small red tomato), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • a sprinkle sugar
  • A generous sprinkle sea salt
  • A small handful cilantro leaves
  • A small handful fresh mint leaves
  • A few sprigs thyme
  • 8 flour tortillas (8 inch)
  • All-natural cooking spray


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high. Rub the steaks with oil, the chile powder and steak seasoning. Grill the steaks, tented loosely with foil, turning once, for 15 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the heat and let rest.
  2. Combine the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until almost smooth.
  3. Lightly spray the tortillas with cooking spray and char for a few seconds on each side on the grill or stovetop. To form each slider: Spread some sauce on each tortilla, top with very thinly sliced steak in an even layer and fold the tortilla into quarters.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brown Sugar Peach Pie with Coconut Streusel

I can't take credit for this tasty dessert.  It came from Cooking Light in July of 2000.  It is THE most delicious peach pie I've ever had.  But then, I'm a sucker for any dessert with a crumbly topping.


  • 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 cups sliced peeled ripe peaches (about 3 1/2 pounds or 12 peaches)
  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted


  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with a piece of foil, and arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Remove pie weights and foil. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Cool crust on a wire rack.
  • Combine 1/3 cup sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over peaches. Toss gently. Spoon into prepared crust. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, oats, coconut, and butter; sprinkle over peach mixture. Shield edges of crust with foil. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Pie

This is the only blueberry pie I've known, since my mom made it every year.  We'd go pick the blueberries and then come home and she'd whip this up.  Now my husband with a July birthday requests it every year as his "birthday cake".

1 qt. fresh blueberries
1 c. sugar
2 rounded T. corn starch
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. lemon juice
9" pie crust, baked

Clean and drain blueberries well.  In a saucepan, mix together well the sugar and cornstarch; add water and lemon juice.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken.  Add about 3/4 c. of the cleaned and drained blueberries that have been slightly crushed.  Continue to cook a few minutes until mixture is clear, thick and transparent.  Cool slightly.  Put a layer of berries in pie shell, then syrup, etc.  Chill; serve with ice cream.

Caprese Salad

This is a perfect summer dish when basil & tomatoes can be picked from your garden.  This will make enough for 2 side salads, so double or triple depending on what you need.

3 roma tomatoes (or use grape, cherry or whatever you're growing!)
3 string cheese sticks
about 1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 T. balsamic
1/2 T. olive oil
salt to taste

Chop tomatoes, slice string cheese into small rounds and chop basil.  Toss with balsamic & olive oil and add salt to taste.  The key is fresh ingredients & a good quality balsamic and olive oil.  YUM.