I love going on vacation, don't get me wrong, but there are certain tasks I always feel mildly stressed about completing before we head out of town. One of those is cleaning out the fridge. As I've mentioned before, we don't throw out much food in this house so on Sunday I made a list of what needed to be eaten by week's end and used that to create a menu. I was actually doing well until today when I picked up our latest CSA box. Fortunately my in-laws are babysitting later this week so they will likely benefit from an overflow of veggies. What's left will go to our neighbors, friends, or get preserved. I've been blanching and freezing green beans like crazy this week as well as preserving a few things I don't think will last till we get back in another week. Aside from the fridge inventory, there's also cleaning before we go. The first time I found myself cleaning the house pre-vacay I thought I'd turned into my mother. Now I realize it's quite logical. I was just reading a post on a blog I follow, Simple Mom, about providing post-vacation peace for your kids and family. Now I believe that rushing around to tidy up before we leave--as hectic as it may be--will A) make us need/enjoy our vacation time more and B) make it less stressful to unwind when we return.
One of the dishes I created this week as I dumped the fridge was a Green Gazpacho. I took so many liberties with the original recipe that I feel I can safely call this it my own. You could even add tomatillos or green tomatoes once those become available this summer.
I found this to be very refreshing on some of these hot, hot days we've been having...and it doesn't heat up the house.
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 small hot pepper (Thai chile size), coarsely chopped w/ or w/o seeds for desired spiciness
12 romaine leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
3 scallions, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1/2-3/4 c. cilantro leaves
1/4 c. lime juice
1 1/2 c.-2 c. vegetable stock
1 t. ground cumin
3 c. buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, or milk depending on desired thickness
salt and pepper to taste
Avocado, to garnish (optional)
In a food processor, combine chopped cukes, hot peppers, lettuce, scallions, celery, and cilantro. Process until almost smooth. Transfer to a large pot or bowl and stir in lime juice, stock, and cumin. Stir in buttermilk, sour cream, etc. Season with salt and pepper, or more lime juice as needed. Garnish with sliced avocado and additional yogurt or sour cream if you wish.