Today, we were celebrating our 20th birthday (a month and a half early!) with our Mother. Having just retired from 33 years of teaching, our mom is moving out to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and we couldn’t be happier for her! She’s really excited to start this new chapter of her life, and we can’t wait to hear all about the adventures she is about to embark on.
To celebrate our birthday, we decided to try out a restaurant that we had never been to before: The Naked Sprout! It is a 100% vegan and partly raw restaurant located in Burlington, Ontario. We first heard about it when reading Angela’s blog, who spoke highly of it. She was definitely correct! This restaurant is seriously delicious! And the best part about the three of us going together? We get to try three items off the menu 😉 Sharing is caring!
Our mom ordered Pete’s Protein Bowl. Oh. My. Goodness. All three of us LOVED it! It was brown rice, tempeh, sweet potato, broccoli, sprouts, and a giant blob of hummus. It was so tasty, in fact, that we are going to re-create it at home! Expect a recipe 🙂 .
Brit got the Perky Pizza. This was a raw dish, with a carrot-flax crust and the chef’s daily creation on top. Today’s was a huge heaping of spinach, onions, grated beats, and sprouts all on a base of a tomato marinara sauce. Here we must mention the only thing that erked me (Julie) the entire time: Our waitress pronounced tomatoes to – MAT-oes. Mat, as in the thing you wipe your feet on, or the boys’ name. Drove. Me. NUTS! But the pizza was incredible so I’ll let it slide, not to mention the cute young chef cooking behind the counter 😉 .
Julie got the Twisted Tacos, also a raw meal. The shell was the same as the pizza “dough”, and the “meat” was made of sunflower seeds. The likeness to ground beef was uncanny! In the taco was also fresh tomatoes, avocado, and sprouts, served with cashew “sour cream” on the side. Yum yum yum!
Of course, we could not leave without having dessert! We shared a slice of the Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. Oh my word was this good! One of the best cheesecakes I have ever had, and there was no cheese! This cheesecake was raw with no sugar and a nut crust (grain free!). To go along with that, we also shared the Mocha Mud Slide smoothie. It was also to die for! Made with half brazil nut milk and half chocolate chai tea, we were in heaven.
Long story short: If you live
close within a 100 mile radius of this restaurant, you MUST go! If you don’t, what better excuse to come visit southern Ontario? 😉
On with the rest of today’s post, after having such a delicious lunch, dinner was under a lot of pressure. Problem? It’s one thousand million degrees out today. Solution? Gazpacho!
No ovens or stove-tops required! Served along with barbecued grilled cheese, and you’ve got the perfect winter-turned summer combination.
We’ve had a love-hate relationship with gazpacho. We see it in pictures, and it looks like it should be delicious, but every time we eat it, it tastes like cold soup that would be so much better if it were heated up! Until now. There are certain rules that must be followed in order to have a good gazpacho.
1. All ingredients must be fresh. (No canned tomatoes here).
2. You have to have a proper balance between acidic (ex. tomatoes) and sweet flavours (ex. apples) or it simply won’t work.
3. It has to be hot out, because if you make it went it’s cold, you’ll just sit there wondering why you’re eating cold soup on a cold day. Confused? So are we.
We wanted to take a classic winter comfort meal, tomato soup and grilled cheese, and give it a summertime makeover. So today’s gazpacho was tomato, with grilled cheese on the bbq. Throw in an apple for sweetness, cucumber for freshness, basil for spice and salsa for kick, and BAM you’ve got a winner!
BBQ= Summer. Doing the grilled cheese on the barbecue just made sense. To maintain the fresh factor, we forwent the traditional butter and brushed our bread with olive oil. We went to Whole Foods this afternoon and had this beautiful loaf of sourdough bread, so these grilled cheese are Extra-Old Cheddar, deli ham and spring mix (gotta get those greens!) on sourdough. Oh baby this was unreal! We are lovers of grilled cheese, this was on a whole new playing field.
So if it’s hot where you live, make this gazpacho. If it’s not…. crank the heat and make this gazpacho 🙂 .
Tomato Gazpacho and Barbecued Grilled Cheese
Total Time: 10 min*
8 medium fresh tomatoes
2/3 large english cucumber
1 apple, peeled (any variety, we used Royal Gala)
1/4 large white onion
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh basil
2/3 c. salsa
2/3 c. vegetable stock
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp salt
Pepper, to taste.
1 extra tomato
extra 1/3 of cucumber
For the Grilled Cheese:
12 slices bread (we used sourdough)
Extra Old Cheddar Cheese (or any cheese you’d like!)
Deli Ham (optional)
Spring mix (optional)
Roughly chop all vegetables and place in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and blend with a hand blender until somewhat smooth, with a grainy texture and some chunks. Finely dice extra tomato and cucumber and stir into soup. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving. Top with sweet relish, if desired.
For the Grilled Cheese: Pre-heat barbecue to medium heat. Spread outsides of bread with olive oil. Place cheese and desired fillings on one slice (olive oil side out!) and top with second slice (again, olive oil side out!). Place on grill, flip once toasted, golden with grill marks.
*Does not include chilling time for the soup.
Do you like gazpacho?
What’s your favourite meal to beat the summer heat?