Talk about a perfect weekend. Talk about the perfect summer weather. Talk about the perfect summer meal to help brace those hot days when air conditioning isn't quite enough to help cool down.
This past weekend marked the start of Tommy's Music-Filled Summer Weekends. This past weekend - Coldplay at Soldier Field. Next weekend - Lollapalooza at Grant Park. For the first time this summer, it truly felt like genuine summer weather. Humidity so high that the hair hangs thick in the sky. The simple idea of wearing anything more than shorts and a tank is considered a sin. Eating a buffalo chicken sub sandwich for lunch on Saturday afternoon was almost painful.
When deciding what to eat, it is vital to take into consideration a number of factors:
- the time of the year
- the produce that is currently in season
- how hungry you are
- how hot it is outside and how the food you consume will effect your core body temperature
After two consecutive days of high humidity, I knew that a hot meal was absolutely out of the question. So what options did that leave me with? Ice cubes. Ice cream. Iced water. Yea...okay, none of those options are legitimate. I cannot live off of ice cubes and ice cream, as much as I would like to! A few years ago I published an article on gazpacho, one of my all-time favorite dishes to prepare during the summer. I couldn't just make the same exact thing, so I took to the internet, searching for new and inspired twists on the classic recipe. I quickly fell upon Tyler Florence's recipe for Watermelon Gazpacho and knew that I had stumbled upon gold. My instincts were correct. The heat from the serrano chile adds just enough spice and flavor while the tomato, watermelon and feta cheese help balance out the kick from the chile. Pair with a nice white wine and you have the absolute ideal meal to help cool off on a hot day.
| Watermelon Gazpacho |
Recipe Courtesy of Tyler Florence
1 large tomato, pureed
1/2 serrano chile
2 cups cubed fresh watermelon
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1/2 cucumber, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a blender, puree the tomatoes, chile, and 1/2 of the watermelon.
- Pour in the red wine vinegar and olive oil and pulse.
- Add the onion, cucumber and dill and season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
- Pour into chilled bowls and sprinkle with dill, feta, and remaining watermelon. Serve.