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Abrazos! xox Penny

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Skinny Dipping

Actually, I don't remember ever doing that. And further, going up one level of attire, my bikini days are long gone, too. What isn't gone, though, is trying to maintain a somewhat flat stomach and recognizable ankles. Last week, leading up to the Bloody Mary contest, I had to sip and sample a lot as I went along tweaking the recipe. Truth be told, I don't drink much tomato juice because of the added sodium in it. I swell like a toad. And so, I was a little concerned I would "wear" the after effects of our prize-winning recipe for about a week.

One day, between sips, I saw an article on veggies that are diuretic and lo and behold, there prominently featured was the humble celery. Interesting. I haven't given celery much thought actually, but I did chew on a bunch last week and it worked! I bought organic celery to serve as a dip and palate cleanser for the contest. I am very new to the mixed drink scene but maybe that is why celery is the traditional garnish of choice for the Bloody Mary...makes you more comfortable asking for another!

Here are some other natural diuretics that I am a lot more familiar with: green tea, cranberry juice, watermelon, parsley, watercress, cucumbers, asparagus, cantaloupe and beets. And tomatoes are in that group as well, as long as they are "au natural" and not coated with salt.

I had a bunch of these clever veggies ready in the 'fridge and whipped up this summer soup favorite, Gazpacho. Try to get all the veggies you can fresh from a local farmer.

Skinny Gazpacho

4 ripe tomatoes, cored and seeded
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and deveined
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and deveined
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 large cucumber or 4 mini's (I like the seedless)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup tamari soy sauce
1/3 balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley (I like the flat leaf)
Tabasco to taste

Cut up tomatoes, peppers and onions into chunks your food processor can manage and in batches, pulse until blended but still a little chunky. I like to err on the side of chunky for this soup. Add in lemon juice, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Stir in cilantro and parsley. Taste and add in Tabasco to spiciness level you like. Put in a glass jar or dish and refrigerate overnight. To serve, if desired, garnish with avocado slices and a lemon or lime wedge or just serve as is with a lemon wedge and extra Tabasco. Dip your spoon in and chill out. Serves 6.

Note: This recipe very "fresh" and does not have any olive oil or garlic in it. Feel free to play! Because it is so "skinny", if you choose not to do the avocado garnish, you will need to eat some fat along with it to get the full punch from the veggies. I like to serve it with a nice Spanish cheese or olive tapenade.

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