Watermelon Gazpacho & The Weekend Whisk ~ #FirstOnTheFirst

by Kate on September 1, 2012

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Soon we will be bidding summer a fond farewell. Some of us will be sending it off and not looking back, ready to be rid of the horrific heat waves that wafted over the country this year. I won’t be too sad to see summer go, not because I was miserable in the heat but because I adore autumn. Autumn is my very favorite season. I cannot wait for crisp, cool days and the crunching of amber, yellow and red leaves beneath my feet. I look forward to taking the girls trick-or-treating, another first for Molly among so many this past 10 months. I have my 35th birthday right around the corner (yikes!) while Molly will be having her 1st. Maddy will be right on our heels celebrating her 3rd a mere two weeks later. The heart of autumn holds so much excitement and so many things to look forward to for us. But we’re not there just yet. For now, we have a few more warm weeks.

With that thought in mind, Carrie and I decided this month we would send summer out with a cold soup for First on the First. There will be plenty of months to come with warm soups filling our bellies but the time for cool ones is quickly fading. I decided to take gazpacho for a fruity spin. In this version, watermelon is the star. This soup is cool and refreshing thanks to the watermelon and cucumber as well. On the other hand, it’s just a little bit spicy thanks to a little red Thai chile. This would have been perfect for the Fire on Ice challenge, huh? In fact, I think this soup could be frozen into popsicles and be a raging success. Note to self: Make that happen.

This soup also happens to be incredibly healthy! This is a huge plus in my book considering my endeavors to be a runner. I’ve been running for almost 6 weeks now and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. Six weeks ago I had difficulty running longer than 2 minutes, I couldn’t even run a quarter mile straight without feeling like I truly was about to keel over and die right there on the pavement. Now, I am running on average about 2 1/2 a half miles every other day and running nearly all of it. I still have to take one or two breaks to walk for a few minutes but this is a vast improvement. A week ago, I was feeling a little discouraged until I really took a look at what I had already accomplished. That’s when I realized that I’m actually doing better than I’ve given myself credit for.

Today, I’m adding something to the mix and taking on a new challenge. I am going to embark upon a fitness journey that hopefully won’t kill me. I’m starting a CrossFit program today! This is one heck of a workout and I’m a little nervous. Just a few hours from now I’m going to work my tail off! I may not be able to walk afterward. I do think though that adding another fitness element to my routine will not only help tone up what three children have toned down but I also imagine that it can only make me stronger which will in turn, make me a better runner. So ready or not, here I go! Wish me luck!

Oh and on another note, I’m heartbroken that I will not be running a race a week from now. Madelyn is starting on her own journey next Saturday. She’s going to start taking a ballet class! I thought it was supposed to start today until I realized that this is a holiday weekend. So it begins next Saturday, just as I would be beginning my first 5K. I cannot miss her very first class. So as all the other Red Faced Runners participate in an organized 5K, I will vow to get up early and run the distance on my own that morning with them and still make it to my little girl’s very first dance class. So my new goal? I will run my first 5K race by the end of the month. September 30th to be exact! In fact, I’ve already signed up. So I have that to work towards and I will make it happen.

In the meantime, you should make this soup happen. As we say hello to September, it still feels a lot like August. This soup will refresh you on a warm evening and the burst of watermelon will remind you of what summer is all about. Let’s enjoy what’s left of it until we welcome the cooler months with open arms.

Want to join in next month? We’d love to have you! We’ll be making bread pudding, any kind you’d like so let your imagination run wild.

Enjoy!

~K

One Year Ago: Chocolate Lasagna

And here’s what you may have missed around here this week!

Pate A Choux Swans with Vanilla Creme Patisserie

Butterbeer Blondies

Sparkling Strawberry Mint Limeade

Basil Pots de Creme with Balsamic Strawberry Reduction

August Foodie Penpals

And the most popular post of the week was… 

Carrot Apple Spice Muffins

Watermelon Cucumber Soup

20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Watermelon Cucumber Soup

Gazpacho gets a makeover with watermelon as the star makes for a cool, refreshing and slightly spicy summer soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn plus more for garnish
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 plum tomato
  • 3 cups chilled seedless watermelon, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup chilled peeled cucumber, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
  • Kosher slat
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 cups basil leaves, next 5 ingredients, and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Let the basil syrup cool completely.
  3. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Using the tip of a knife, make two shallow 1" cuts through the skin at the bottom of the tomato, forming an X. Blanch in water just until skin at X begins to lift, 30-40 seconds.
  4. Transfer to a small bowl of ice water; let cool until cold, about 5 minutes. Peel and halve the tomato. Scoop out and discard seeds.
  5. Puree reserved basil syrup, tomato, melon, cucumber, 1/4 lime juice, and chile in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and more lime juice, if desired.
  6. Divide the soup among bowls. Drizzle with a little olive oil; garnish with pepper and more basil leaves.
  7. Enjoy!

Notes

From Bon Appetit Magazine | August 2012

http://foodbabbles.com/2012/09/watermelon-gazpacho/

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Cookin' Canuck September 1, 2012 at 9:01 am

You have come so far with your running. Congratulations! That’s great that you’ll be doing your own 5k next Saturday…and will still be able to make your daughter’s first class. We’ll be cheering you on. This watermelon gazpacho would be the perfect thing to cool down with post-race.

Reply

Kate September 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Thanks so much for the support! And I love this soup… It’s been made several times recently and truly would be perfect after a race.

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Carrie @ poet in the pantry September 1, 2012 at 9:04 am

It sounds like your cold soup was more successful than mine! ;) You have come so far on the running–I’m proud of you! It doesn’t seem like you’re doing much until you look back and see how far you’ve come. Good luck with CrossFit! One of my friends started 3 months ago and she’s an addict now. She loves it!

(BTW, I love Autumn, too, and it’s not just because my birthday is also coming up!)

Reply

Kate September 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Thanks Carrie :) I have to go check out everyones now. I haven’t been home all day and can’t wait to see everyone’s creations. And thank you for your support with the running!! It means a lot. And CrossFit Day 1 went well but man is that a serious workout. Yikes! I am beat. They really kicked my butt. I liked it though.

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Deanna Segrave-Daly September 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Ahh, this looks divine! Now, I’m a bit depressed because I am 100% a summer gal but this recipe will keep summer going for a bit for me:) Good luck with CrossFit – you will rock it (and your 35th bday – you are young :)

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Kate September 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Thanks Deanna! (for the compliment on the recipe as well as the well wishes on my CrossFit endeavors) ;)

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Anna @ hiddenponies September 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Great flavour combination, and I love that yours ended up in little glasses too :) Good work on the running, and way to handle all your priorities – fitting in the run on your own AND making it to the dance class, inspiring!

Reply

Kate September 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

Thanks Anna for all your kind words about the recipe as well as my running and priorities :) It’s always a balancing act!

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Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta September 2, 2012 at 1:03 am

Love that First on the First idea and might have to join in. I’ve been lacking in kitchen creativity so maybe it’ll help inspire. I’ll be doing my own personal 5k next weekend too. Well, attempting it as I’ll only be done with six weeks of training, but I have a real 5k on 9/30 as well so we can run “together” :) Good luck with CrossFit, I’ve heard good thing but it still scares me, LOL!

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Kate September 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

We would love to have you Sarah! It’s a lot of fun. As for the running, I’m only on Week 6 as well so we’ll be attempting it together ;) I know there will be walking but I’m okay with that as long as I run more than I walk! And that’s great that we’ll be running our first real race together too! CrossFit is a wonderful workout and I really liked it. It was intense though! I’m very sore today :)

Reply

christina @ oven adventures September 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm

i’m on week 8 and i can’t get over how far i’ve come. I thought I was dying week 2. I just took my first zumba class and i did way better than I thought because of the running. I am sure you rocked it out at Crossfit. it’s funny my daughter starts her ballet class this saturday too. I lucked out and my race is on Sunday.

good luck on the 30th.

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Kate September 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I know!!! I’m in awe too! I never expected to have come this far and I can’t wait to see where we’ll end up. I LOVE Zumba! Isn’t it fun? I have no rhythm but I sure do like to dance as if I do. Good luck to your daughter on her first dance class and to you on Sunday! Come back and tell me all about it. I would love to hear how it went!

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