Gazpacho

  • 8 thick slices of French or Italian bread, cubed
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 English (seedless) cucumber
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 bell peppers, red, orange or yellow
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3+ T red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1-2 c tomato juice
  • kosher salt
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Chop up all the vegetables into a large dice, about 1″. Place in a large bowl along with the bread, minced garlic, and tomato juice. Drizzle with olive oil and add a generous amount of kosher salt. Allow to sit for 2 hours mixing every half hour.

Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender with the vinegar. Blend in more tomato juice to loosen the mixture, if needed. Remove soup to a large bowl and stir in about 1/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. Taste for salt and acidity and add more salt or vinegar if needed.

Chill for several hours.

When serving, drizzle a little olive oil and vinegar, and add fresh cracked black pepper to each bowl. Optional garnish: finely diced cucumber, bell pepper, and onion.

Sunflower Seed Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 1/4 t yeast
  • 2 3/4 c whole-wheat flour
  • 1 c bread flour
  • 2 T wheat gluten (optional)
  • 2 1/2 t kosher or sea salt
  • 1 c toasted, salted sunflower seeds

Mix 1 t of the honey with the water and yeast and allow to proof for 5-10 minutes. Mix flours, salt and gluten if using together in a bowl. Add remainder of honey to water and yeast mixture (assuming yeast is good), and whisk to combine. Add flour to liquid and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic, adding either more water or flour as needed. Remove from bowl and flatten the dough out into a large rectangle. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the dough and then roll tightly, folding the ends up so the seeds don’t spill out. Slowly knead the dough roll to incorporate the seeds evenly throughout the dough, about 5 minutes.

Set dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours until doubled.

Punch dough down and allow to rise again for an hour until doubled again.

Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a log and place in a greased 9″ loaf pan. Let rise for another hour (it will only rise a little).

Bake at 350F for 45 min-1 hour.

Honey Oat & Sunflower Seed Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4  teaspoon yeast
  • 1/3 cup honey (or agave nectar if making this vegan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 cup oat groats
  • 1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels
  • 2+ cups white bread flour (depending on how moist your groats are)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (white or hard red depending on your preference)

Boil 1 1/2 cups of water and pour over the groats and allow to soak for at least half an hour, or use cold water and soak in the fridge overnight. Add the rolled oats 10 minutes before you begin to make your bread dough.

To the warm water (95-105°F) add the honey and yeast. I drain what water is left over from soaking the groats and rolled oats and add enough extra water to that to make 1 1/2 cups so I keep the flavour and nutrients that have leached into the water. Add in the butter and mix well. Add in the groats, rolled oats, sunflower seeds and salt, and then slowly add in the 4+ cups of flour, all the while mixing with the dough hook attachment of your mixer or a sturdy wooden spoon. Only add in enough flour so that it barely comes off the sides of the bowl, this is supposed to be quite a moist dough.

I like to let my mixer knead the dough for about 4 minutes before turning it out onto a lightly floured surface and adding just enough flour so that it doesn’t stick to my hands or the counter. Knead for 5 minutes more until stretchy and it just barely sticks to the counter without a little flour.

Form into  ball, cover and place in a clean, oiled bowl to rise until doubled. Once doubled, punch down gently and allow to rise for a second time, being careful to watch it so it doesn’t over-rise.

Remove from the bowl and shape into whatever shape you choose, a boule, batard, baguette, or place into 2 loaf pans. Top with either a scattering of rolled oats or sunflower seeds (or both)  and allow to rise one final time.

Bake in a 375°F oven until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom/the internal temperature has reached 190°F.

Tomato & Lentil Salad

Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C Lentils du Puy, rinsed and picked for debris
  • 1 small onion, halved with the skin on
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 dried red chillies

 Add all to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-35 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Remove from the heat and salt the water generously and let the lentils sit in the salted water for 10 minutes more. Remove and drain, discarding aromatics. Let cool to room temperature.

 Salad

  • 1 T whole grain or coarse ground mustard
  • 2 T capers, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pounded to a paste
  • 1/3 C good extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, very small dice
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 8-10 large basil leaves

Smash the garlic cloves with a meat pounder or the side of your knife several times, sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and smash further, scraping together the paste and running your knife through it until a paste forms. Add to a small bowl along with the mustard and minced capers. Add the vinegar and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whilst whisking to form the vinegarette. Put the lentils in a large bowl and add the onion. Slice the tomatoes into 1″ cubes and add to the lentils. Chiffonade the basil leaves and them and the dressing to the salad and mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper (and more vinegar and olive oil) as needed. Let sit for at least half an hour for the flavours to meld.

Curried Red Lentils

  • 2 C red lentils (masoor dal), rinsed in several changes of cold water
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 4 coins of ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 yellow onion

In about 3-4 C of water, cook the lentils along with the aromatics for about 10-15 minutes until just slightly underdone. Remove from the heat and salt the water generously and let sit for 20 minutes.  When ready to use, drain, remove the aromatics (except red pepper flakes) and add to pot.

  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 3″ piece of peeled ginger, coarsley chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 t kalonji (nigella) seeds
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t fennel seeds
  • 2 t of your favourite curry powder, or more to taste. I like a Madras curry powder.
  • 1 qt tomatoes (home canned if possible)
  • 3/4-1 C of either cream, half & half or plain yoghurt, or a combination of those, to taste (optional)
  • 1 t garam masala*
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Purée the garlic, ginger and onion with a little water until a thick, smooth paste forms. Toast the whole spices in some ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until toasted, 1-2 minutes and then add in the curry powder and cook about 30 seconds until brown. Add in the garlic-ginger-onion paste and sauté until very thick and reduced by at least half. Add in the tomatoes and cook until the juices have reduced somewhat. Next add in the cooked lentils and continue to cook until the lentils are quite soft. Check for salt, and stir in the garam masala and cream/yoghurt and remove from the heat. Serve over rice and top with chopped cilantro and more garam masala if desired.

*I prefer to make my own garam masala (and often curry powders) from whole spices. Whole spices are extremely inexpensive when purchased either online or in a Indian (or similar) grocery store in bulk. I keep my whole spices in glass jars in a cool pantry and they last for years. I keep a large variety of spices that are useful for Indian, SE Asian, Mexican, and many other types of recipes on hand so I can toast and grind them fresh when I need them. The flavour is far superior to store-bought spices and it is way cheaper.

Spiced Tomato Ketchup

Adapted only very slightly from Hungry Tigress’ Sweet Tomato Ketchup

  • 4-5 lbs very ripe (home grown, heirloom) tomatoes in any colour you want, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 C raw sugar
  • 1  1/2 C white wine vinegar
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 head garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 2  1/2 T fresh ginger, peeled & chopped fine
  • 1-2 dried red chillies, pounded in mortar & pestle (or 1/2 – 3/4 t red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 t  fennel seeds
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 t allspice berries
  • juice & zest of one lime

Place in 1/2 pint or smaller mason jars. Yield: approximately 2 pints

Blanch your tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop the tomatoes into the water a few at a time for 30-45 seconds and then immediately place them in a ice bath. This makes the tomatoes incredibly easy to peel (and it’s incredibly difficult to peel tomatoes if you don’t blanch them first.)

While waiting for the water to boil, zest and juice the lime and prep the garlic and ginger. Process the garlic and ginger into a smooth paste in a food processor. You will probably have to add some water for it to form a smooth consistency.

Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle, or do what I did and put them in a plastic ziploc bag and pound on them with a heavy rolling pin. You want the spices to be bruised and release their flavour, but not ground or crushed too much. Even though they’re whole, with all the cooking we’re going to do to them, the spices will essentially melt into the sauce.

Place all ingredients in a large non-reactive pot. You want lots of space so that when it bubbles up when thick it doesn’t splotch all over the place.  Warm on low until the sugar dissolves and then bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until desired thickness has been reached.

Wwhile the ketchup is simmering prepare jars & lids for hot water bath processing. Process full jars for 10 minutes.

While this recipes says this is a ketchup, I’d say it tastes more like a tomato chutney. Which means it’s still fantastic on all the things you might use ketchup on: potatoes of all kinds, eggs, burgers, hot dogs, etc. It’d also be a fantastic sauce for meats on the grill, especially chicken or pork.

Mango-Pineapple Sorbet

4 ripe ataulfo mangoes*
1 large very ripe pineapple
juice of 2 large lemons
1/4 t kosher salt
1 1/4 c white sugar
1/3 C light corn syrup

Cut the cheeks off the mangoes and scrape the flesh out with a spoon and place into a bowl. Chop the pineapple into 2″ chunks and add to mango. Juice the lemons and sieve the juice to get rid of any seeds or large bits of pith. In 2-3 batches, add the fruit to a blender and add in 1/3-1/2 of the lemon juice to each batch. Purée until very smooth. Pass the purée through a fine mesh sieve to extract the mango and pineapple fibres, using a large spoon to push and stir it around to extract as much juice as possible. You should end up with less than 1/4 C of fibrous pulp and around 3-4 C of thick purée. Add in the sugar, corn syrup and salt and whisk until totally dissolved. You shouldn’t need to heat this at all to get it to dissolve.

Chill in the freezer, stirring every 30 min or so until very cold: 30-32F. Place in a ice cream maker and churn until the paddle won’t turn any more. Place in freezer and freeze for a couple hours to firm it up. It is very important that your purée be as cold as you can get it w/o it freezing before starting to churn it if you have the kind of ice cream maker that contains a frozen pack and isn’t self-freezing because your sorbet won’t freeze before the ice pack gets too warm if you don’t.

*or whatever mango you can find. I used these as they’re more flavourful, have a smaller pit (and therefore more fruit) than standard mangoes. They’re ripe when they’re dark yellow-orange and slightly wrinkled skin.