Very Veggie

There was no sewing yesterday...not even hand-sewing. When I finished writing my blog post yesterday, I got straight to work making last night's dinner. I was meeting Matthew for brunch, and when I got home, there would only be a few hours before I needed to pick up this week's CSA share. The earliest I can pick-up our share is 4:00, followed by a half hour drive for home, and then about a half hour putting everything away. After that, I'm really not in the mood for making dinner, so it helps to either make it ahead, or plan on leftovers.

So, wanna know what I made? Remember that I said I was going to try to replicate the delicious gazpacho they make at the Charthouse. If there is a restaurant food you like, you can simply Google "copycat recipe for [name of restaurant, name of food]". If it's a popular restaurant, you might just find something. So for the "Charthouse gazpacho" there were quite a few suggestions, but the best one seemed to be Chef John's Gazpacho on allrecipes.com. And that's what I did.

It needed to sit in the refrigerator for several hours to allow the flavors to meld. When I got home in the afternoon, I tasted it and made a few additions. When Mike came home, we tasted it together and then added just a little more salt and some Tabasco. We both thought it needed just a tad of heat. When all was said and done, this is the recipe I came up with, and it's a pretty good copycat, even if I do say so myself. And I do.


A Charthouse copycat, adapted from Chef John's Gazpacho
6 generous servings

4 large fresh tomatoes -- peeled and diced
1/2 English cucumber -- peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup minced green onion
1 large jalapeno pepper -- seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
pinch cayenne -- or to taste
freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime -- juiced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons  thinly sliced fresh basil
croutons -- optional

Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano, Tabasco, cayenne, and black pepper.

Place cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Cover and puree until smooth. Pour pureed mixture through a strainer into the tomato-cucumber mixture; stir to combine.

Place 1/3 of the tomato mixture into the food processor or blender. Cover, and puree until smooth. Return pureed mixture to the remaining tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Season cold soup with salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with fresh basil and croutons, if desired.

Also on last night's menu: Panko-crusted Crab Cake Bites with Roasted Pepper Chive Aioli. I've linked to the recipe there, and while it might seem like a lot of trouble, I like this recipe because it can be made up hours ahead of time, and then just popped into the oven when you're ready to serve it.

The panko coating is so much lighter than regular bread crumbs, and the fact that they are baked and not fried makes for a lot less mess. When I make these, I take a soup spoon of the crab mixture, and sort of form it into a wad in the palm of my hand. Then I pick up the panko with the other hand and pat it into place. Then I flip it to the other palm and repeat for the other side. It holds together just fine.

So when I had all of that done, I headed out to meet Matthew at Zell's Cafe. When I was working, it was a favorite place to meet friends, but I hadn't been for ten years, at least. The food was still just as good as I remembered it, and we had a leisurely breakfast/lunch. Matthew has recently gone to a part-time schedule to allow more time to pursue his passion for music, and so he has more time now to meet up. As for his musical pursuits, he's the drummer in a Beastie Boys imitation band, and they recently played for a crowd of about 3,000 at Harefest. He shared this picture with me.

At the end of the month, his band will be playing at the Waterfront Brewfest for a crowd of around 10,000. It's great fun for him and he says it allows him to feel like a rock star, if only for a few hours. 

It's been so long since the two of us have spent alone-time together, and he chatted away about all that's going on in his life. It was utterly enjoyable. We were taking up space at a table in a busy restaurant, and so we left and went for a walk. Matthew lives on the east side of the river, and he knew there was a park nearby. We walked several blocks, finding the park, and also this huge community garden. Community gardens are just about the best thing, in my humble opinion, and this was a really nice one.

It was hard to tell who was growing what where, but there would have been space for 20-30 gardeners here.

It might surprise you to know that I took pictures of every blooming thing.

Check out those sunflowers!

Our walk allowed me to accumulate around 5,000 steps toward my 10k goal, and so after I got home and tinkered with the gazpacho for a bit, watered the annuals, and then went for a short walk around. I noticed that the wisteria is blooming for the second time. 

Also, we have these lovely (if stickery) little weeds growing below the bird feeder. My Like that Garden app tells me that these are Kansas Thistles.

Smitty was out with me, but later in the evening, the two kitties were caught chilling on the catio.

Smitty likes his little bed, and I've seen him sleeping there in broad daylight. He seems to understand that he's safe there and that he can let down his guard for a catnap.

Sadie is strictly limited to the catio, but she doesn't seem to mind. She's also been eating the grass I put out there for kitty konsumption.

Poor Sadie hasn't had any decrease in the gastrointestinal upset that has led to rather runny and smelly hindquarters, and so the vet has put her on an antibiotic and some "sensitive stomach" food. Hopefully, we can get that cleared up soon, but it doesn't seem to bother her...it's more distasteful to Litter Box Cleaning Man.

So today, I'm determined to finish up Seating for Two and at least get the binding sewn on by machine. If it's going to be entered into the Northwest Quilting Expo in September, I need to be able to photograph it and turn in my entry form. Also, this morning I'll get a start on the next block for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long, so there's plenty to do. The sun is shining today, for a change, and it's going to be a relaxing day.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

DeeDee said...

Do you have any idea how old Sadie is? We've had two cats (sweet Sasha Boo who went over the rainbow bridge in January) and our current handsome resident Henry, who have both had tummy problems. By the time they hit about a year old the tummy problems let up quite a bit. We also have Henry on a probiotic and that helps a bunch with the smelly poop. I hope Sadie's problems clear up soon!

Anonymous said...

Those panko crusted crab cakes sound good. Did you divide the recipe to make it just for two? I have to cut most recipes down now that there are only two of us.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

What a great community garden! Love all the bloomin' photos again today. The kitties seem very comfortable and relaxed in the catio.

Sheila said...

When we first got our Gracie, she was having similar problems. We put her on a dry food with no dyes, also no treats. I hope the special food helps Sadie out! PS: always love the flower photos.

SJSM said...

Our vet suggested puréed pumpkin (about a tablespoon full) and non flavored (plain) Metamucil/Benifiber (one teaspoon per day mixed in with the pumpkin or wet food). Originally an antibiotic was needed. Lana is much improved but falls back into issues if not enough of the pumpkin/fiber isn't eaten. We feed her a wet food that has pumpkin in it for her morning meal and dry food in the evening.

How nice to spend time with your son and get a walk in! Enjoy your sunny day.

quiltzyx said...

How nice that your old meet-up restaurant was as good as you remembered! I went to 3 new-to-me restaurants this week! Dickie's BBQ - delicious pulled pork sammie, mmmmm. Corky's Homestyle Kitchen & Bakery - funny menu, the desserts had no prices! I ordered grilled salmon from the "senior menu". OMG! The portions usually are smaller on that menu, right? Well I would guess that the salmon was 8"x 4" & 1/2" thick, with wonderful grilled squash & a nice baked potato. (I had the exact same thing for lunch today!) Then Friday night went to Pieology for pizza. If you haven't been, it's a build your own style pizza, so I could get just what I wanted & didn't have to pick anything off. :)
Sounds like you & Matthew had a nice time - very cool garden! And the cats are sure enjoying the catio these days too!

Brown Family said...

They look so comfy out there! Beautiful gardens!

Denise :) said...

Thanks for sharing the gazpacho recipe -- it looks wonderful! Todd won't eat it, but I adore it. So what's been your experience with putting it up?