Summer Gazpacho

I will fully admit that my husband is easy to please when it comes to cooking. If I make it, he likes it; there isn’t much that he doesn’t like (love you for that!). But I’ve recently discovered that gazpacho is one of those things that he really has a soft spot for.

My reaction: of all things, really?!?

But I’ll take it! Gazpacho is super easy to make, is actually better the longer you let it sit, and is perfect for summer veggies and those hot, hot days when the last thing you want to do is cook.

So when the tomatoes were super ripe, I made the Easy Summer Gazpacho from Local Haven. A sidebar, but I’m also realizing that 1) I am very gullible in the kitchen and will follow a recipe to the T 2) I have a good gut instinct in the kitchen and should really listen to myself a little more often! Don’t get me wrong, this recipe turned out really well, but as I was making it, I found myself thinking that hmmmm, none of these ingredients are yellow…. I wonder how this final gazpacho is going to turn out yellow! Yep, my gazpacho was red (red tomatoes tends to do that!….). You could completely make this with different colors of any of the vegetables involved, but I was naively thinking this would be yellow when I followed the recipe!

Again, this recipe was incredibly simple and gazpacho is so forgiving. Once you’ve got the tomato base, throw in a little bit of whatever you’ve got! Also, the gazpacho became even tastier the next day after it had sat for a while. Talk about good leftovers 🙂

The This Jess ranking:

  • Making it: 6/10 – super easy and really no “cooking” required
  • Eating it: 9/10 – really fresh, and summery
  • Looking at it: 9/10 – only becuase I thought it would be yellow!

You can find the full recipe linked here.

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

The deeper we get into summer, the more and more I am convinced that I could just live off of summer fruits (and the delicious desserts they make!). I had been itching to get my hands on some rhubarb, and when it popped up at the store this past week, I jumped at the chance to make this gorgeous Strawberry Rhubarb Galette I had seen.

I used the Strawberry Rhubarb Tart recipe from Laylita’s Recipes and went with the galette / rustic option rather than the tart option (you could also make this a little more refined in a tart pan, but where is the fun in that!). For whatever reason, I must have looked through 100 recipes before settling on this one and I’m glad I waited.

The galette was GORGEOUS and honestly pretty easy to make. It was also DELICIOUS. This is exactly what you want a rhubarb galette to taste like, and could not have packed more “summertime” into a single bite. Happy to share this one as I will definitely be making again!

This Jess rankings:

  • Making it: 7/10 – not terribly hard and the galette format is very forgiving
  • Eating it: 10/10 – love, love, love
  • Looking at it: 10/10 – gorgeous; this is my kind of style

You can find the full recipe linked here.

Blueberry Lemon Tart

Since you are *required* to make a festive dessert for the Fourth of July, and I’ll take any excuse to be in the kitchen, I had a few requirements for this: 1) try something that wasn’t too tacky (forgive me, anyone that is cutting stars out of strawberries or making something with mounds of cool whip!) and 2) make something that actually tastes good (see prevoius point).

With those boundaries in mind, I found this Blueberry Lemon Tart recipe from Tyler Florence posted on the Food Network. I’ve been on this kick of using all the new toys in our kitchen (thank you, wedding registry!) and this was the first time that I got to use our food processor. I used to hate the machine my mom had when I was a kid — seemingly a million parts, really heavy, complicated to use and literally impossible to wash. So let’s say I was cautiuosly optimistic at best.

Food processors are The Best Thing Ever Created.

Literally, I want to make everything possible in a food processor.

Pastry dough and I have a love hate relationship. I love eating it, but hate making it. This machine made it so easy — popped all the ingredients in and in seemingly no time I ended up with the smoothest pastry dough I have ever made. I’ve always made pastry dough by hand with manual tools / utensils and you just can’t beat this. It still took a while as the crust had to cool at various stages, but it was not challenging and tasted so buttery and flakey. That’s all I’ll say about the crust 🙂

The filling was delicious from the moment that Tyler Florence thought to put those ingredients together. Effortless, fresh, flavorful, and not overly sweet or overbearing. Once the crust was fininshed, the rest was a breeze and came together in a heartbeat! Note: there is a lot of lemon in this recipe (shocker, in a lemon tart recipe, I know). I’m generally pretty loose with my measurements, but this is one that I would recommend not going over on as it could become overpowering.

Now for the This Jess rankings, here is how it breaks down for me:

How much did I like…..

  • Making it: 8/10 – fun to make, not overly complex. Doesn’t rank higher as you do have to stop and wait several times for cooling crust.
  • Eating it: 9/10 – excellent
  • Looking at it (since we all eat with our eyes first): 9/10

Food Network gives this recipe an “intermediate” skill ranking, which I would agree with. Would definitely recommend this and make again! Tyler Florence recipes can never steer you wrong.

You can find the full recipe linked here.

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Here we are, let’s do this!

If you know me, you know this isn’t my first, second, or fifth blog. But there’s just something that keeps coming back to me, so here we are!

My (new) husband and I just moved to Chicago. The kitchen is nice. I let him pick the apartment without me seeing it, but that was a requirement (and good lighting!). It’s the kind of kitchen where you just can’t help but want to cook, and I find myself plotting different recipes to make each weekend and through the week. Now that we’re also back in the Land of Farms, as I like to call it, I find that the grocery stores are also AMAZING. We were coming from NYC where grocery shopping was literally one of the worst things to happen to you. Between that and some pretty stellar kitchen-related wedding gifts, I honestly find myself wondering what kind of kitchen madness I can get up to on any given day.

Apart from cooking (or really, the two are related), we love to eat. And explore. There are three components to making a really great trip, whether it’s to the other side of the world

  1. Wander – truly, truly wander. With no plan. Maybe with a map (or maybe not). Go wherever the mood takes you. Enjoy the sights, sounds, smells. Be a kid and enjoy just being there.
  2. Eat – the food, the wine, the coffee, everything. Eat and savor everything you can get your hands on. For me, part of this is cooking too. Cooking a meal and savoring it in a new place is one of my favorite things in the world.
  3. Sleep – Airbnb is my jam, but I LOVE great hospitality no matter where it is. Whether you’re staying in the ritziest resort, boutique hotel, authentic hilltop Airbnb, or a shoddy hole in the wall hotel that you mistakenly booked (or not, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do), soak it in. It’s part of the experience and each one is worthwhile.

It’s become a bit of a life motto: wander, eat, sleep. If I can live my life appreciating and doing those things, I will be forever happy. The above also breaks down the categories of this blog for you: Wanders, Cooks, Eats, (and eventually) Sleeps.

“It’s become a bit of a life motto: wander, eat, sleep.”

I have a lot of stories and will live my life forever collecting more. With this blog I hope to share some with you, and to share my kitchen explorations and thoughts, as well as some of our wanderings. Follow along with me, let me know what you’re liking (or not), and let’s wander together.