Thursday, June 17, 2010

WHOAH! Summer is Finally here!

Tis' the season to BBQ, Cold Soups, Watermelons, Homemade Popsicles and Ice-cream. I love the summer time. Not only are some of the best meals prepared outside but my favorite desserts are cold as well.

There was some family in town, who I hadn't seen in close to seven years. Very strange for me not seeing family considering we spent every summer growing up hanging and visiting with mom and dad's respective families. The chance arose and I was roped into three days of family. Eating out, hanging out, and gin and tonics. My absolute favorite and go to drink ;)

After a couple days of visiting that included eating out almost every meal and hanging outside in the smoldering heat. Jane and Doug's Trip was rapidly coming to and end, or maybe it was just my weekend ending and work week beginning. The final consensus was "Jane and Doug come over for dinner." The more permanent living spot that I'm in has been HOT. The entire west facing side of the house is windows and the sun shines till almost 8 at night, it ends up being at least 10 of not 20 degrees hotter in the house. All day Monday after breakfast was spent going back and forth to Home Depot and Lowe's trying to get the swamp cooler to work. With no luck and it going to be warm and rainy on Tuesday I came up with a plan, Gazpacho and Chocolate Mousse Pie.... MmMmMmMmMmmmMMmm.

Gazpacho is one of the best cold meals a person can make. A spicy tomato cucumber soup with cold veggies and hot buttery croutons for garnish. You take onion, garlic, pimento or a roasted red pepper, cucumber, and tomato juice. You blend it up and add some red wine vinegar and olive oil and let it chill. You can add any veggies cut up and cold. I like yellow and orange bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, green onion, and avocado. Most often you will get sour cream as well. I don't like sour cream so i choose to use avocado instead. To make your own croutons you can use your favorite bread or focaccia, cube it into small pieces and dry it out in the oven at 200* for about 2 hours. You can add a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, pretty much any seasoning that you want for your croutons you can use. The best part is the hot toasty buttery croutons sizzling in your cold soup. My dinner guests were impressed. They had all forgotten about Gazpacho into the moment they were in my home.

I was pleased with the compliments but i could not wait to bring out the chocolate mousse pie. I'd like to say I slaved over this in the kitchen but surprisingly making a traditional mousse with egg whites, yolks, and whipped cream has many steps and dirty dishes but is literally "easy as pie." I made the chocolate mousse, layered strawberries on the bottom of a chocolate cookie crust and in the middle of two mousse layers then garnished with half strawberries all around the top and a dollop of whipped cream on each piece. My dinner guests were dazzled. My aunt mentioned a couple days before whats the point of dessert if it's not chocolate. I was in love with this recipe, it came out way better than my normal chocolate pudding pie. Rich smooth and creamy. I sent a piece home with my mom and got a couple phone calls the next day about how amazing the pie was.

My advice don't skip the steps and make the real deal Mousse. It is Phenomenal!