Summer Salads Soups Stews

Variations on a theme from generous neighbors’ garden gems and Connecticut River Valley farm stand treasures. Check them out below.

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Carol’s Gazpacho 2014

I add watermelon to balance the acid. Not as a dominant taste.

4-6 pickle cukes, peeled and coarsely chopped
6-8 ripe garden tomatoes, peeled, cored, de-seeded
2 bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 slices day old bread, crusts cut off
6 2″-cubes watermelon, de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbs. red wine vinegar
celery salt, ground black pepper to taste

Soak the bread in water and wring dry. Put bread and all above ingredients in layers in a blender and pulse so consistency is smooth with a few chunky bits. Stir and taste for seasoning, vinegar balance.

Put in a container and chill. Serve cold with chopped garden veggie garnishes.

Cioppino Estivo

Summer Seafood Stew for Two

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~Tilapia. Vongole. Pomodori. Aglio. Olio. Prezzemolo. Pane. Questo è tutto.~

2 Tilapia filets
2 dozen + Little Neck Clams
1/2 cup fresh American parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 Garden tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 Jalapeño pepper, sliced and de-seeded
1 cup seafood broth
6+ fresh garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes to taste
Ground black or white pepper to taste
1 Lemon, zest

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Chop 1/2 cup fresh parsley into a large measuring pitcher. Add 2 tbs. unsalted butter, 6 cloves minced fresh garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil. In a stock pot heat little neck clams in 2-3 tbs. vegetable oil over medium high heat until they start to open and release nectar. Add the parsley, butter, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, ground pepper to taste, 1/2 cup broth and stir. After all clams have opened, 5-6 minutes, remove clams and discard shells and any unopened clams. Reserve clams. Cut the tilapia into chunks. Add to the pot with chopped tomatoes and another 1/2 cup broth. Poach until fish is flakey, 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook. Add back the clams, take off heat and stir. Serve in large bowls with chopped bell and sliced jalapeño pepper as garnish. Top with lemon zest. Dip a baguette. Delizioso.

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Recipe and photos created by Gary F. Levine.

 

Vicious Ssoise

Vichyssoise with a little heat. Cut the white parts of 2 leeks into thin slices. Mince 2 cloves of garlic. Peel and cut 4 cups potatoes into small chunks. Peel and chop 1 large zucchini into thick slices. Shred 1/2 head Savoy cabbage. Unseed and chop 2 jalapeño peppers. In a large saucepan, sauté the leeks, garlic and jalapeños in 2 tbs. butter until tender, but not brown. Add potatoes and zucchini and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, bring to boil, then simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add cabbage. Simmer until everything is tender.

Drain liquid, then pour potato mixture into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. In batches liquify in blender until smooth. Put into container and add 2 cups skim milk. Stir. Less milk for thicker consistency. Cream or half and half makes a richer soup. I like it lighter. Refrigerate for several hours. Season with salt and ground pepper to taste. Serve cold with chives on top.