Browsing Tag


Farmers’ Market Gazpacho

August 12, 2013

When fresh markets, farm stands and gardens are overrun with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions, I could eat gazpacho every day. I love to make runs downtown to the Union Square Farmers’ Market to check out the fabulous local produce. I look for the juiciest tomatoes I can find to make this refreshing and zesty gazpacho. There are no hard-and-fast rules in making this recipe. You can adjust the amounts and types of vegetables to your liking.

This soup is a celebration of freshness – in the body and in the season.  

What are some of your favorite ways to use your farmers’ market bounty?


Farmers’ Market Gazpacho

Serves 2-4


  • 5 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (more whole leaves for garnish)
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste


  1. Place the tomatoes and tomato juice in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the chopped bell pepper, celery, red onion, garlic, cucumber, basil and black pepper to the soup and stir well. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight. This allows for the flavors to meld. 
  3. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with whole basil leaves. Enjoy. 


Squash Blossom Salad

November 12, 2012

Autumn has definitely fallen over Ireland and colder weather is blowing in. When I’m out wandering about town, I pull my collar up to keep the chill from slipping down my neck. Even though the sunshine has managed to pop it’s head through the clouds, I can’t seem to get warm.

This salad is a gorgeous starter for a comforting bowl of soup. Sometimes combining just a couple seasonal elements in a simple way, allows each ingredient to shine without a lot of fuss. It’s easy, uncomplicated and just the kind of food I like to eat every day.

Squash blossoms are a seldom seen treat in most super markets due to their incredibly short shelf life – several hours once plucked in worst cases and only several days in best cases if handled very carefully. Typically, you have to come by these bright and fragile delicacies at your local farmer’s market or even better yet, in your own home garden. Once these bright blossoms make their way into your kitchen, it won’t be long before your little finger foodie and family realize what a treat they’re in for – not only will you get quite a kick out of eating flowers, you will also reap a few health benefits. Squash blossoms are high in calcium and iron and especially high in vitamins A and C.

The easiest and arguably the best way to use squash blossoms is raw, eat them with a drizzle of great quality oil and salt or toss them into any salad. The squash blossom is simple, ethereal and easily over powered so try to go easy on the dressings and accouterments.

Squash Blossom Salad

Serves 2


  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • assorted greens
  • tomatoes
  • 1 radish, sliced
  • 2 cups small squash blossoms, stems removed
  • 3 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced


  1. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Divide greens, assorted vegetables and squash blossoms on two plates. Drizzle with dressing and top with sunflower seeds. Devour.

(Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –


Pasta Alla Checca

July 18, 2012

Vegetarian delight, pasta alla checca is a simple, quick and delectable dish from Italy. It is served in the summer months when tomatoes and basil are at their peak. It is ideally savored during the sultry months when one doesn’t want to spend too much time over a hot stove. It consists of uncooked tomatoes and simple Italian herbs, basil and the outcome is delizioso (translated means “delicious”).

Earlier this summer my boyfriend and I spent a weekend in Rome for my birthday. We had such a wonderful time and I wanted to recreate one of our favorite meals from our travels, but with a little twist – make it completely raw. If you are an avid tomato grower or prefer purchasing them from your local farmers, this is just the recipe for you. Take maximum advantage of the freshest tomatoes that are so bountiful during the summer season. Actually, the secret to making this dish an utter success lies in the use of the freshest, ripest and most flavorful tomatoes. Heirloom or heritage tomatoes are great for this dish as they taste good when eaten fresh.

For the “pasta” in this dish, you can use yellow squash or zucchini, or a combination of both. It’s nice to leave the peel on for extra vitamins and color. A spiral slicer makes lovely noodles in just minutes, but you can always cut them by hand with a vegetable peeler, by just peeling the squash or zucchini lengthwise into long strips. Of course, shredded with a mandoline would be just fine too.

Tomatoes, which we know are a fruit and not a vegetable, are loaded with all kinds of health benefits for the body. Free radicals in the body can be flushed out with high levels of Lycopene, and the tomato is so amply loaded with this vital antioxidant that it actually derives it’s rich redness from the nutrient. Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health as well.

As a part of the summer squash family, zucchini not only offers delightful taste and texture to many dishes, but also carries with it many health benefits. One cup of zucchini has 36 calories and 10% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating.


Pasta alla Checca

Vegan, Raw, Gluten-free


  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1–2 teaspoons herbs (thyme, rosemary or Italian herbs of choice)
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 dates
  • ½ cup olive oil, or to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly milled black pepper to taste


  1. Soak dates in filtered water to soften.
  2. Add the tomatoes, garlic, herbs, basil, dates, salt and pepper to a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly pour in the olive oil and continue blending until fully emulsified.
  3. Trim the ends of the zucchini. Using a spiral slicer or hand vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into noodles.
  4. Transfer zucchini noodles onto serving plates and add sauce generously over noodles. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt, as desired. Use basil as garnish.

Buon appetito!