Green Gazpacho

As winter dangles on the edge of spring, I find my cravings transition from bowls of warm, hearty chili to spoonfuls of its cooler cousin, the ever-fresh gazpacho. The April issue of Cooking Light Magazine rekindled my love of the chilled soup with its recipe for Cucumber Gazpacho with Shrimp Relish. Though I usually include tomatoes in my gazpacho, I enjoyed the simple pairing of cucumber and Greek yogurt as the base of this version. The shrimp and grape tomato relish, seasoned with cumin and paprika, gave both weightiness and spice to the soup. And as always, cilantro was a power player in flavors this summer-inspired dish.


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 1/2 cups chopped English cucumber
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Dash of ground red pepper
1 large garlic clove, peeled

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. In a bowl, combine shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, cumin, and paprika. Add shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until done. Stir in tomatoes; remove from heat. Add cilantro.

2. Place remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, cucumber, and remaining ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Ladle 1 cup soup into a bowl; top with 3/4 cup relish.


O-me-ga Open-faced

Irish smoked salmon +onion + avocado-arugula spread + dense multi-grain bread

Round 2 improvement: fresh dill sprinkled on top.


Eating With Your Eyes

As an artist, I think food is one of the most interesting subjects to work with because it’s a completely sensory experience –- a simultaneous interaction of taste, smell, sound, touch and sight. I am inherently drawn to the visual aesthetic of food, which is why I find food styling/photography such a fascinating business -- it effectively aims to capture the other senses by way of a single one: your eyes. This weekend I had the great opportunity to immerse myself in a workshop devoted to food styling and photography at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. We spent three days with three fabulous teachers honing technical photography skills, learning the techniques that food stylists use to craft luscious camera-ready dishes, and preparing and shooting our own creations.

Along with becoming adept in the skill of drizzling sauces for action shots, I captured some luscious stills...


Joey Mango's Tomato Eggs

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the wonderment of poaching eggs in a simmering tomato sauce. I have yet to obtain his original recipe but since my first experience I have attempted several variations on the theme. The idea is to create a flavorful sauce -- his included tomatoes, onion, shittake mushrooms, olives, basil, garlic, paprika, among other secret ingredients. The eggs are then cracked into the sauce and allowed to cook in the shape that they naturally form. No manipulation is required -- a mere lid on the pan and the eggs will cook themselves.

I could not resist taking a few glamour shots of the finished dish, which was topped with crumbled goat cheese and basil and flanked by crusty rosemary-garlic bread and a boat of Greek yogurt-cucumber sauce with arugula. A few minutes later, I inhaled the entire plate.