Delightful Distractions

So, I had a big day planned on Sunday.  I had a mile long To Do list, and a whole day set aside to accomplish it.

I did not get off to a good start.  I woke up late.  I watched a bad movie on TV.  (Seriously, My Best Friend’s Girl is probably not a good movie under any circumstances.  But, on Comedy Central, it’s pointless.  Take a movie in which the only trick is to try to be as vulgar as possible, and then cut out all the vulgarity.  Every other word is missing because every other word used to be profanity.  As if we can’t read lips…)

Anywho…I was procrastinating.  I’m really good at procrastinating.  And, then, just as I changed into my work clothes, pulled my hair back, and declared that I would procrastinate no longer, I got the following text from Erin.

Heading to the Pru to check out a food truck.  Then picking up some things at Sephora.  Want to join me?

Well, you know me.  Hell ya!

It helps that I knew that Erin’s promise to “check out a food truck” was code for “I think we’re gonna get to meet Todd English, but I don’t want to promise anything, just in case it doesn’t happen.”

Hot chef or no, I knew the food would be good (and free) and Erin’s company is always delightful.  So, of course, I quickly changed out of those work clothes and headed into town with Erin.

There were some beautiful sandwiches to go with those lovely coconut cupcakes. But, who wants to look at pictures of boring old sandwiches?

Todd English doesn’t usually work out of the back of a food truck. But, Macy’s was offering his food for free in exchange for donations to Feeding America.  Pretty cool, eh?

Besides those fabulous cupcakes, the truck was serving Prime Rib Sliders, mini Lobster Rolls and homemade Potato Chips.  I ate Erin’s slider because she doesn’t do beef.  Heavenly!

After a few minutes of waiting patiently in the beautiful sunshine…

Oooh la la!

Erin got her meet and greet with man himself!  She was sweet enough to insist that I get into one of the pictures, too. That one’s still locked in Erin’s camera, but she’s way cuter than me anyway!

(By the way, here’s a hint that we learned from Todd’s “handler” for the day. If you ever get the chance to meet a good looking celebrity chef, don’t tell him that your wife wants to have sex with him. It just isn’t polite. I would have thought that would go without saying, but apparently it does not.)

Anyway, after spending way too much money at Sephora, I made it home energized and ready to tackle that To Do list.  Of course, those Prime Rib Sliders only took me so far and before too long I was in the mood to cook.  After spending the afternoon sampling the not-so-healthy signature dishes of a celebrity chef, I decided to tackle the super healthy signature dish of me…a non-celebrity non-chef.   So, I give you…

Gazpacho Shrimp Salad on Couscous

So, if you come to dinner in my house in the summertime, this is what I’ll make for you.  If you come back two weeks later, I’ll probably make it again.  And again.  It’s that good.

I only make this in the summertime because (A.) I hate winter tomatos and (B.) it requires less than 10 minutes of heat in my non-air conditioned kitchen.  Perfect.

(I used to think I hated tomatos all year round, but when I got older I realized I just hate the tasteless, slimy, grainy tomatos that you buy in the supermarket. Now, I stick to locally grown tomatos and I loooove them! Check out Tomatoland if you want to learn why the two tomato options are so very different.)


Summer on a plate. Or a cutting board. Yeah, it's a cutting board!

You know me, I love lots of super fresh, super colorful veggies.  So you’ll need.

1 cucumber, chopped, without seeds
2-3 red tomatos, chopped, without seeds
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small can tomato sauce
hot sauce (to taste)
fresh herbs (Parsley or cilantro would be traditional.  I used basil and oregano, because that’s what my window box had to offer this week.)
salt and pepper
2 TBSP olive oil

I’m not a big fan of seeds, so I usually use an English (aka seedless) cucumber. But, my CSA gave me the normal kind this week, so I just left out the seediest center part. I also try to leave most of the seeds of the tomato on the cutting board.

Chop up all the veggies. Mix in the tomato sauce, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper. As your very last step, add a teeeny bit of olive oil.

If you’re like me, you’re going to want to skip this part. Don’t skip it! Seriously, this recipe is good without the olive oil, but it’s fantastic with it. Since everything else in there is fresh, healthy veggies, you’re not going to hurt anything by adding just a little bit of healthy fat. Go ahead. Do it. You’ll thank me for it!

I serve this up with couscous…

I've tried all the flavors, but Toasted Pine Nut works best with this recipe.

…and shrimp with a bit of cajun seasoning cooked on my George Foreman grill. I’d prefer to use a real grill, but I don’t have one at the moment.

Now, here’s the important part. Don’t make three separate piles on your plate. Serve it up like this.

Warm couscous on the bottom, cold gazpacho salad in the middle, and hot shrimp on the top. The warm/cold/hot combo is part of the magic!

I never did finish up that To Do list, so I burned a comp day today to finish up the essentials. Oh well, that’s what summers are all about, right?


One Comment to “Delightful Distractions”

  1. Food trucks are all the rage in SF! There’s a truck for Crème brûlée, even.

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