As I was wishing my co-workers a wonderful and safe long holiday weekend on Thursday afternoon, I was thinking how quickly time will fly and before I know it, it’ll be Sunday. Well, I was absolutely right on that one. I have no idea where the time went but now, as I write this, it is Sunday and I will be going back to work in less than 20 hours!
Time seems to fly faster more as I age. I remember the year I spent in third grade in Japan and it felt like a lifetime. I still remember my teachers, my classmates, and even some conversation I had with my then-friends. But if you ask me what I had for dinner with my boyfriend last week, you’ll find me at a complete loss.
I wanted to make one dish for this year’s Fourth of July BBQ that will be memorable – a dish that is new, refreshing, and something I’ve never made before. It didn’t have to be mind-blowing or anything, but I wanted to make something that I will remember and perhaps incorporate into my regular repertoire. And Gazpacho came into mind.
I remember watching lovely Ina Garten make this cool, salsa-like summer vegetable soup once on her show and have wanted to try it myself for some time now. I thought this soup would be perfect to feed friends and family gathering to celebrate the Independence Day. The vibrant red color from ripe tomatoes were especially appropriate for the occasion, and the fact that I didn’t have to slave over the hot stove in this 100-plus degree Valley heat made the idea much more appealing!
Making this soup was a bit of a struggle because I don’t own a food processor and I had to chop all the vegetables by hand. I used my cheap, $10 blender to fine-chop half of the vegetables but it was difficult to make sure that I didn’t liquidfy the onions and bell peppers! I’m happy with the result though because the vegetables blended nicely, while keeping some chunky pieces for wonderful crunchy texture.
I altered the recipe quite a bit, but you can find Ina’s Gazpacho recipe here.
The rest of the dishes were home runs too, with prosciutto ham wrapped melon as the starter (shown on top). And thanks to my boyfriend who made panko and almond crusted mahi mahi with homemade tartar sauce …
… and seared albacore with scallion, ginger, garlic, homemade ponzu sauce, and a drizzle of piping hot sesame oil. He is such an amazing chef and he even caught these fish he cooked with!
My father got busy at the grill to cook up his famous steaks! He prepared us each a piece of New York steak (below) and filet tenderloin! Talk about a meat overload (and noone was complaining). I was too busy eating to take pictures but my mother made a lovely pasta salad, and Asian Cole Slaw, our family holiday staples!
It was so wonderful for the Z family and W family to join us for the celebration. Especially for the W family, this was their baby’s first Fourth of July BBQ and we were so happy to be part of it.
I hope everyone had a wonderfully memorable Fourth of July with your loved ones!