Staff Photo: John Bohn A cup of gazpacho soup made by Chef Todd Paige of the Moondance Lounge in Suwannee. Gazpacho is one of Chef Paige's favorite summer recipes.
SUWANEE -- Todd Paige, executive chef at Suwanee's Moondance Restaurant and Lounge shares some helpful grilling tips for the summer as well as some of his favorite recipes for Georgia's humid, hot weather:
• Make sure your grill is super hot -- up to the appropriate temperate.
• Don't use a lot of lighter fluid on your charcoal grills or you may lose your eyebrows.
• Let your steaks rest after cooking. If you don't, the blood will bleed out and turn the meat gray.
• If you're smoking meat, look for specialty wood chips. You can't just burn sticks to get a good flavor. Experiment with different flavors like cherry wood, hickory or Thai.
• Feel out your grill because it has different zones. Learn where the hot and cold spots are, so you don't burn or overcook your food.
It's so freshing. Right now, it's over 100 degrees. I love soups period, but hot soups in the summertime -- no. A cold gazpacho is perfect because you have the cucumber, peppers, onions, tomato juice ... which is light, not heavy for this temperature.
-- 2 European cucumbers
-- 1 roasted yellow and red bell pepper
-- 1 roasted poblano pepper
-- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
-- Juice of 1 lime
-- 1 ounce olive oil
-- 2 ounces red onion
-- 4 cups low-sodium tomato juice
-- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
-- Fresh cilantro and chives, to taste
-- 2 dashed Tabasco sauce
-- Salt and pepper, to taste
-- Sour cream
- Dice all of the veggies to -inch. Mix with tomato juice. Add garlic, lime juice, olive oil, parsley and Tabasco sauce.
- Mix again. Taste the soup for flavor and add salt, pepper and cilantro until you like how the gazpacho tastes.
- Add a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle on chives.
I layer the vegetables, sliced by hand, salt and pepper them and throw them on the grill. I steam the whole thing to melt the mozzarella until it's oozing down the side. All the different vegetables will taste like cutting into a meaty steak.
-- 1 eggplant, squash, onion, tomato and zucchini
-- 1 roasted red and yellow bell pepper
-- 1 cup mushrooms (button or shiitake)
-- 1 cup Kalamata olives
-- bag of fresh spinach
-- Fresh mozzarella, to taste
- Thin slice the vegetables and grill for 2 minutes on each side.
- Saute mushrooms and spinach.
- Layer ingredients as you want. Place back on the grill to melt the mozzarella.
- Served with a white wine butter sauce.