Chilled Watermelon Soup with Roasted Apricots and Tomatoes

A shallow white soup bowl full of watermelon gazpacho with roasted apricots, tomatoes, and red onions on a red, white, blue floral background. Small fresh basil clusters are arranged on the gazpacho and background.

Soup is best served cold on a hot day and this gazpacho-inspired recipe is a fine example of chilled summer soup at its best. Make this soup when local produce is readily available, this is the time to let seasonal fruits and vegetables shine. Roasting apricots, tomatoes, red onions, and a jalapeño  pepper or two gives the soup depth of flavour and a solid base for the raw ingredients. It’s absolutely crucial that this soup is chilled for at least 12 hours in order for it to taste spectacular, 24 hours is even better if you have the time. Use a fruitier extra virgin olive oil if possible, the biting peppery taste of the oil you use to cook with isn’t complementary to the lovely sweetness of the soup. I’ve also used avocado with success, it gives the finished product a delicious buttery quality. I love using sherry vinegar in this recipe as a nod to traditional gazpacho and I’ve added some additional lime juice to really underscore the sweetness of the watermelon. I like to serve this chilled watermelon soup with something tangy and rich such as creme fraiche or high-fat yogurt, finely diced avocado also works well. Pack this soup into jars for an easy picnic addition or any on-the-go meal, it’s also incredibly refreshing after any outdoor activity when temperatures are in full mid-August mode.

chilled watermelon soup with roasted apricots and tomatoes:

(makes enough for several meals and will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator)

4-5 cups of watermelon, cubed with seeds removed

6 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into quarters

6 fresh apricots, cut in half with puts removed

1 medium-sized red onion, cut into quarters

1-2 jalapeño peppers, cut in half with seeds removed

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 medium-sized cucumber, cut into a fine dice with seeds and peel removed

1 sweet pepper, cut into a fine dice

A generous handful of fresh basil, cut into a fine chiffonade

4 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup fruity olive or avocado oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put the watermelon in a food processor and pulse until completely blitzed. Set aside.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes, apricots, onion, and jalapeño pepper(s) on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until everything begins to brown, stirring occasionally.
  4. Scrape the roasted fruits and vegetables into the food processor with their juices. Pulse a couple of times being careful not to process until smooth, the goal is a chunky salsa-like texture.
  5. In a very large jug or bowl stir together the watermelon, roasted and chopped vegetables, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and fresh basil. Season generously with salt and paper.
  6. Cover the soup and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before serving chilled with your preferred finishing touch.

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Greg Gonzalez of Cigarettes After Sex has the gentlest of  singing voices, the most obvious comparison would be Hope Sandoval when she’s singing with the Warm Inventions but I also hear echoes of Low when they’re at their most sparse. This dreamy EP is just gorgeous, it’s also an album that gives me a definite feeling of time and place. It makes me think of reading in bed, sunlight filtering through semi-closed blinds, and the distinct smell of dust and library books. CAS has a playful yet melancholic sound that fills the room because of its lo-fi simplicity not despite of.

Cigarettes After Sex – Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby

Greek Yogurt and Basil Salad Dressing

greek yogurt herb salad dressing

I make a LOT of salads. Salads for lunch at work, giant salads for dinner, salads forever. I think it’s the colours that draw me in every time, putting together a huge plate of fresh brightness is a lovely way to play in the kitchen. My standard dressing is sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper but when I have time I like to make this salad dressing with Greek yogurt and fresh basil. The basil can be easily substituted with a different fresh herb; parsley, dill, thyme, and even cilantro are all wonderful. You can make this salad dressing without the mayonnaise if you want to, but I find it really gives the recipe some heft – fat is always a great flavour booster and shouldn’t be feared.

greek yogurt and basil salad dressing:

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (full fat will taste the best)

1/4 cup of mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of half a lemon

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/3 cup of fresh basil, cut in a fine chiffonade

1 tsp. kosher salt

Plenty of freshly cracked pepper

Combine all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes before using. This salad dressing will keep for 2 days in the fridge.

A beautiful spacey love song by Dntel to brighten your evening.

Dntel – Anyone Anywhere

Mango Salsa

fruit salsa

Ian is having oral surgery tomorrow so I thought I would celebrate his last night eating solid food for the next couple of days by cooking a steak dinner complete with caramelized onions, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, and roasted asparagus. Unfortunately, I went for a run and then showered before deciding around 6 o’clock that I should start on the aforementioned caramelized onions and an hour later, faced with a pan of half-browned onions and little else I decided that an emergency light snack was needed immediately. Serendipitously enough, I had a fruit bowl containing an avocado, a mango, and a packet of cherry tomatoes. I diced everything together, added cilantro, a tiny amount of minced garlic, dried chilies (works in a pinch!), and generous amounts of kosher salt and lime juice. I’ve been eating cucumbers lately at a somewhat alarming rate and with the advent of an oncoming steak dinner I thought they sounded like the perfect dipper for my impromptu fruit salsa break. Salsas in general sound fussy to make  from scratch but are actually very simple, combine the crunchy fruit and vegetables of your choice in somewhat equal amounts and add something to give heat, something sour, and salt – that’s all it takes! Let sit for 15 minutes to let the flavours get to know each other and serve with cucumbers, corn chips, chicken, fish, grains, etc., etc.

Baked Purple Sweet Potato Fries

purple sweet potato

Tonight I was convinced there was nothing to for dinner in the fridge. I’ve been sick this past week and mostly living on canned soup and homemade frozen yogurt. Deep down I knew we had at least one innocuous set of ingredients lying around but frankly I haven’t felt up to cooking and the thought of eggs and dry toast did little to inspire that urge. Curious about a bag containing 3 purple sweet potatoes I had bought the week before I decided to at least cut them open to see their electric purple interiors, an absolutely beautiful but foreign colour to see on your cutting board.  I have found that purple sweet potatoes tend to hold their shape better and are less mushy than baked orange sweet potato fries, they’re also sweeter and denser in texture. I scrubbed the peel really well and cut them up into large matchsticks to save time but the peel also adds a pleasantly chewy sensation to the finished product.

baked sweet potato fries:

(makes 2 generous servings)

3 purple sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into large matchsticks

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. cumin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the sweet potato matchsticks in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil evenly and sprinkle with salt, paprika, and cumin. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve alone or with a condiment of your choice.

purple sweet potato

Another Rainbow Salad

Rainbow Salad

After a day of way too much strawberry ice cream I needed a meal that was ridiculously, obviously healthy; there is no way this salad could be misconstrued as anything but colourfully nutritious. I have cucumber, radishes, strawberries, yellow sweet peppers, grated carrot, avocado, romaine lettuce, edamame, parsley, pepitas, chia seeds, and black sesame seeds. I made a salad dressing out of dark sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, minced garlic, 1 tsp. brown sugar, and grated ginger (basically, raiding my pantry for ingredients that would work well together). I dressed the salad and let it sit for about 10 minutes to get the crunch out of the chia seeds and because, well, I just happen to like my salad on the soggier side.