I recently returned from beautiful Ascona, Switzerland...a little exploratory trip to Monte Verità; an energizing oasis where I hope to teach a retreat in 2021.
One of the crucial components of a good weekend retreat is having nourishing food, made with care and attention. I've taught a retreat where the food was delicious, but heavy, served with a generous portion of vino and ice cream for dessert. Nothing wrong with that, but I find that when I am at a retreat and the food is energizing, mostly plant-based, yoga and meditation just feels better. (Let's just say my Yin Yoga class after everyone had a meal of rosti with wine and dessert..., it wasn't my best class).
Enough blathering on, let's get to the goods. Here are two recipes that are inspired partially from the end of the summer produce at our local market and very inspired by our time at this beautiful (hopefully, future locale) retreat center.
Tomatoes: 4 or 5 Roma tomatoes (medium, round, soft-skinned tomatoes on the vine) are standard for traditional gazpacho. But really, any ripe, juicy, fresh tomatoes will do.
Cucumber: 6-inch Persian or Kirby cucumbers are most often used in Spain, peeled and seeded.
Red or green pepper; destemmed and seeded.
Red onion: Just half of a small red onion, peeled.
Garlic: I use two small garlic cloves or one large clove.
Olive oil: Many traditional gazpacho recipes are loaded with lots of olive oil, I use a tablespoon or two.
Balsamic vinegar: around a tablespoon or less.
Herbs; we have basil and oregano growing, so I used those.
Salt and Pepper: Some like to add cumin. I leave it out.
Optional to add crumbled feta.
Puree the soup: Combine all of your gazpacho ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree for 1 minute or until the gazpacho reaches your desired consistency.
Chill: Transfer the soup to a sealed container and refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely chilled. Enjoy with a good, crusty bread.
2 medium beetroots
¼ cup walnuts
Handful of rocket leaves or herbs (again basil and oregano or whatever sounds good)
A drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of sea salt or fleur de sel
Pre-heat your oven to 180
Roast your beets 1 hour or until soft.
Remove the beetroots and let them cool until you can gently peel off the skin.
With a Mandoline, carefully slice the beetroot into thin circles and lay these down evenly on your plate.
Add the walnuts, if you like.
Place the rocket in the center of the dish and sprinkle over the feta cheese and sea salt or fleur de sel.