Chilled Cucumber Soup
· 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted
· 4 ounces rustic white bread, crust removed, bread cut into chunks
· 3 pounds cucumbers
· 2 small garlic cloves
· 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
· 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
· Zest of 1 lemon
· 2 cups 2% low fat milk
· 2 cups ice
· 2 teaspoons coarse salt
· 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
· 10 large mint leaves
· 12 large basil leaves
Peel, seed and coarsely chop cucumbers. In a blender puree half of each of all ingredients. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients. Add milk as needed for a thinner consistency. If the soup is too chunky, pass through a medium sieve. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. If desired, thin with water before serving.
Serve chilled. Garnish with: finely chopped fresh chili, avocado, red onion, crab meat, poached shrimp, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, or chopped basil.
Parsley Crêpes with Ham, Pesto, Ricotta and Summer Tomatoes
· 1 egg
· 1 cup milk
· 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
· 20 fresh Italian parsley leaves
· 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 6 tablespoons ricotta
· 6-12 slices ham
· 3 ripe summer tomatoes
In a blender combine egg, milk, butter and parsley until combined well. Add flour and salt, blend until smooth. Strain batter through a fine mesh strainer to remove any parsley pieces and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat a 6 to 8-inch non-stick pan over medium heat until hot. Swirl a small piece of butter until melted, remove pan from heat and tilt and swirl 1/4 cup crêpe batter to cover bottom with a thin layer of batter. Return pan to heat and loosen edge of crêpe with a spatula. Cook crêpe until underside is lightly browned. Turn crêpe and lightly brown the other side. Transfer to a plate.
Yield 1 quart
· 2 1/4 cups basil leaves (2 1/4 ounces)
· 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
· 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· 1/4 cup pine nuts, untoasted (1 1/4 ounce)
· 2 tablespoons Pecorino-Romano, finely grated and loosely packed
· 3/4 teaspoon salt
Blend pine nuts, salt, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Scrape down sides of food processor bowl; add basil and 1/2 cup of the olive oil and cheese. Blend, scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with food processor running until pesto has reached the desired consistency. Scrape down sides of bowl several times during process. All ingredients in pesto should be gently chopped and held together by the oil without being runny.
Spread each crêpe with 1 tablespoon of pesto, 1 tablespoon of ricotta, 1-2 thin slices of ham and several slices of tomato. Roll up or fold crêpe and repeat with remaining crêpes.
Serve with a big lettuce salad.
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