Watermelon Gazpacho {No Tomatoes!}

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Like most of the country, New York has been suffering through a heat wave for the past week. Quite frankly, it’s too hot to cook or even to eat anything very substantial. For the first few days I was content eating salads for dinner, but after more than two or three days of salad I start to get cranky so I tried to think of something that would satisfy my raving for real food without requiring me to actually cook (since the minutes I spent over the stove sautéing onions last night left me so hot that I couldn’t even enjoy the steak that Shawn grilled for me).

An ice-cold gazpacho seemed like it would hit the spot, but that suggestion was met with a resounding, “No way!” My effort to convince Shawn that gazpacho is basically just pureed salsa (the only way he’ll eat raw tomatoes) didn’t get me anywhere. Luckily, I had this recipe up my sleeve — a sightly spicy watermelon soup without a single tomato.

Thursday Giveaway: Grow Your Own Mushroom Garden

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I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive when I was contacted about doing a review and giveaway of Back to the Roots Grow Your Own Mushroom Kits. While I love the idea of gardening, I definitely do not have a green thumb (except when I try to grow habaneros and end up with enough to last a lifetime). And something about growing mushrooms in the house weirds me out a little bit (I mean, it sounds like something you don’t want to grow).

But the more I read about this company, the more I started to think that it was really cool. It was started by two friends in their senior year of college who were inspired by a lecture about the ability to grow gourmet mushrooms in recycled coffee grounds. The soil inside these kits is actually 100% recycled Peet’s coffee, and they’re on track to reuse over 1 million pounds of coffee grounds this year – helping families grow over 250,000 pounds of fresh oyster mushrooms (up to a pound and a half of mushrooms per kit).

Peach Cobbler Pancakes

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Has anyone else noticed that peaches have been fantastic this summer? Their sweet smell has completely overtaken the produce section of my local grocery store, and I find myself filling my basket with them every week — they’re soft and juicy and perfect. I’d almost go as far as to say that the great peach season makes up for the less than stellar showing that strawberries had earlier this year.

Needless to say, when General Mills asked me to develop a recipe that would “make something good, better” using Land O’Lakes’ new Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread, it didn’t take me long to decide on a creation that featured fresh peaches. At first I considered making a peach cobbler, a staple of summertime cookouts and a dish that’s perfect for sharing with friends, but then I thought that if there’s anything better than peach cobbler, it’s peach cobbler that you can eat for breakfast. These fluffy whole wheat pancakes layered with stewed cinnamon sugar peaches capture all the flavor of the favorite summertime dessert and repackage it as perfect breakfast treat.

Sweet Potato Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Pancetta

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This recipe was created to satisfy a random sweet potato craving that I had a few weeks ago (I blame Heather). I wanted something more interesting than a simple baked potato or fries, but I also didn’t want something that would remind me of Thanksgiving dinner. After playing around with a few ideas, I decided to experiment with a pizza-like flatbread. It was a great decision! The thin slices of sweet potato has an amazing texture — crispy like chips around the edges but with a soft, chewy center that reminded me of fruit leather. The combination of those potatoes with sweet caramelized onion, salty pancetta, and creamy goat cheese was one of the most amazing flavor and texture combinations that I’ve ever experienced. It definitely hit the spot and satisfied my craving. The only problem is that now I crave the flatbread!

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I used the OXO Mandolin that I won at Eat, Write, Retreat to shave my sweet potato and onion into super thin (1/8-inch) rounds. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can also use the slicing blade of a box grater or a sharp knife to cut the slices as thinly as you can. Whichever way you decide to do it, just make sure to watch your fingers!

Prepared pizza dough makes this recipe super quick to pull together My favorite is Portland Pie Beer Pizza Dough, which has a slightly malty flavor and a great, chewy texture. Of course, you can use your favorite prepared dough or make your own.

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Click to continure reading and get the recipe for Sweet Potato Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Pancetta –>