Side Dish: The bumpy road ahead (May 17, 2010)


Life is nothing if not surprising. When I started this blog a few short months ago I never could have imagined the highs and lows I would experience during the intervening time. From science fair projects to changing careers and kitchen fires to fatherhood, no matter what I planned for life had a way of…well…happening. The good and the bad.

Which brings me to my big news. I’ll do the good first: I will be opening my own restaurant with “Uncle” Saul. Timelines and specific details are still to be determined, but we had a tasting up in Ojai this weekend and the menu – modern comfort foods, served tapas-style – were a big hit with my family. We’re far from done, but I am genuinely excited about what lies for us on the road ahead.

Which brings me to the bad news. The literal bumps in the road. We were involved in that major highway accident you no doubt read about this past weekend. I wish I could say everyone was OK. They are not. Just when life seems certain and good, a truck jackknifes on a road. In a brief moment our lives are instantly changed.

Our bodies and hearts slowly heal and at some point we look again to the future. To that distant point somewhere on the horizon towards which we aim and dream.

So this will be my last blog entry for now but not forever. I can promise you that I’ll be back before our kid is a teenager. And I’ll also leave you with a recipe I’ve adapted from our Ojai tasting for a gazpacho soup that will be on our restaurant’s menu. With everything going on in my family, this soup symbolizes that distant point on the horizon that I’ll be working towards. Feel free to pull up a chair, pour yourself a bowl and share in my dream.

• 1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded but not peeled
• 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
• 4 plum or Roma tomatoes
• 1 red onion
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 23 oz low-sodium tomato juice
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ½ tablespoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. (or to taste)

Roughly chop the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes and red onions into roughly 1/2-inch cubes. ( I chopped them by hand but you can use a food processor too) (Do not over process!!). After each vegetable is chooped, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer it sits, the more the flavors will develop.

Add some sliced avocado to each bowl soup for added flavor.

Oh and I am so sorry I don’t have a new picture featuring me or Kevin this week…we are pretty beat up from the accident…