Gazpacho – a perfect and easy summer cooler

Low-cal and low- carb and so good!I just can’t get enough of cool and spicy gazpacho all summer long. It’s a perfect light lunch, or as a low-cal late afternoon appetite spoiler. Technically the name connotes a bread soup, so my recipe is not authentic at all. But it is delicious and perfect if you are watching your weight and your carbs – so nobody call the food police.
Place all of these ingredients in a food processor or a blender, and buzz until blended. If you like your soup chunky, pulse the machine. I like to blend it almost smooth. You can thin it with water, chicken stock, or vegetable juice if you like – and chill.
Sometimes I add additional chunks of cucumber before serving.
1can of tomatoes: either San Marzano or Muir Garden Fire Roasted. (You can use 2½ cups of chopped fresh chopped tomatoes if you have them. I like canned in this recipe, as they are quick and delicious – and I make this a lot.)
1/3 to ½ a small- to medium-size zucchini, chopped roughly.
1/3 chopped unpeeled English cucumber
½ small sweet onion, chopped roughly
½ sweet red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and chopped roughly
1 lg. clove of peeled and chopped garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. green jalapeño sauce
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
Taste the seasoning and correct before chilling.
Things to add:
1-2 tbsp per serving of chick peas, for protein to make it meal;
1-2 tbsp of low-fat or no-fat feta, to make it a meal;
1 tbsp. of ground cumin to the mix for a smoky flavour.

Moules Marinière

Entertain with this easy seafood dishMoules Marinière is a classic French recipe from Provence. I like to make it with a fresh tomato and touch of oregano. I usually use about a half pound of mussels per person. Mussels shells usually need to be scrubbed, but cultivated mussels now are very clean. Here in Atlanta, I have used shelled, frozen mussels from New Zealand. They are the best I can buy. If you see them try them; they are shockingly good and convenient to have on hand.

Mussels are low in fat, high in protein, and delicious, so there are several good reasons to cook them soon!
In a large pot:
½ pound mussels per person
1tbsp good olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
Moules marinière
Optional: ½ tsp chili flakes
Seat, do not brown the onion and garlic for 30 seconds
Add one small chopped and salted tomato
Add the mussels and enough dry white wine to cover them (Sancerre, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc)
Add 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
Add 1 tsp dry oregano and a handful of clean, chopped fresh parsley
Cover and steam until the shells open, or until the wine comes to the boil for two minutes and then remove from heat
Serve with crisp oven fries and mayo for classic “moules et frites” – so easy so good! This is a great dish for informal entertaining.

A new twist on a Mediterranean classic

Greek salad with grilled shrimp, creamy, feta, and zingy lemon dressing!The latest trend in chic eateries is recreating old classics. Try this version of a Greek salad. I love a Greek salad. Usually, it is overdone and bad. Our version is luxe, with fresh grilled shrimp and a fresh lemony dressing.  It is fabulous for a hot weather lunch or dinner — and perfect on a party platter, too.
For four as a starter, two for lunch
1 head of romaine lettuce; washed, dried and cut into ten in pieces
1 large ripe tomato cut into wedges, or two smaller tomatoes — one red and one yellow
Half a red onion sliced and separated into rings –feel free to use mandolin if you have one, I do and I think it makes things look and taste more delicate, but it is not essential –at all!
1cup of crumbled feta cheese
Half a cup of black olives, in brine or dried Moroccan
One pound (550 grams) of shrimp. Peeled, deveined, and grilled.
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup of white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp. fresh dill
½ tsp. salt
Mix well
Add ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. good olive oil, shaken or blended well.
Arrange the salad on plates.
Season the shrimp with seasoning salt or salt, pepper, &paprika
Grill until pink
Top salad with hot shrimp and feta
Drizzle with dressing
Top with fresh ground pepper