Dreaming of Summer by Maureen McHugh

glowinggreensmoothiemainjpgIt happens every January; as the calendar flips to the New Year, my husband and I know that it is time for more green shakes and mindful eating. We drink green shakes year-round, but in the depths of winter, we reinvigorate our routine. Steve rises first and packs the Vitamix with his “special recipe” and I enjoy it as I make our morning cups of coffee. It’s a great way to start the day feeling more balanced and healthy.

When the first cold snap hits, we start our annual routine of cooking hearty soups, stews and chilis. Yum! But after last week’s bone-chilling snap, I yearned for a taste from my garden. Thank goodness I had tucked away some of my late summer harvest in my freezer.


Maureen’s Warm Winter Gazpacho

I pulled out one of my favorite summer recipes from Leah Eskin, which I clipped from the pages of the Chicago Tribune a few summers ago: Roasted Gazpacho. Instead of serving cold, I warm it up and it reminds me of a summer dinner out on our porch. I use my Vitamix and give my Le Creuset a little vacation.   The process is quick and the results are great; the soup is warm and is ready to serve straight from the blender. (The 750 model has a soup preset; your soup will be smooth without having to strain the seeds) I serve the soup with warm crusty crostini and a garnish of cilantro. This soup is sophisticated with flavors of fresh roasted tomatoes, red peppers and southwestern spices. We feel just as virtuous feasting on this warming soup as we do sipping our green shakes in the morning. Everyone at the table dreams of summer and makes ambitious plans for what to plant once the ground has thawed.

Roasted Gazpacho for Summer or Winter
Serves 6
  1. 2.5 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
  4. 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  5. ¼ cup olive oil
  6. 2 T. red wine vinegar
  7. 1 t. sugar
  8. ½ t. sweet smoked paprika
  9. ¼ t. ground red pepper
  10. 2 T. cilantro, chopped
  11. kosher salt
  12. freshly ground pepper
  1. Roast: Place tomatoes onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast in a 400-degree oven until tomatoes are splotched black in spots, about 15 -20 minutes. Set tomatoes aside to cool.
  2. Blend: Scrape tomatoes and juices into a blender. Add garlic, scallions, red pepper, oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika and ground red pepper. Blend until smooth.
  3. Strain: (Optional step depending on the power of your blender) Press through a medium–mesh sieve or food mill and into a bowl to press all the liquid through. Discard seeds.
  4. Chill: Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for about 1 hour (Winter Variation…Serve warm (not hot) to let all of the flavors shine)
  5. Serve: Pour into bowls.
  1. Garnish with cilantro and crostini.
Adapted from Leah Eskin, The Chicago Tribune
Adapted from Leah Eskin, The Chicago Tribune
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

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