Andalucian Gazpacho

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I know that there are technically twenty some days left until summer, but I am getting ready. I’ve got my new sun vitamins(the lady at the pharmacy looked shocked when I put them on the counter with the weather we’ve been having here…), I have been getting out and jogging again (so hard to get out and do it with this rain!), and I’ve made our first batch of gazpacho! The taste of summer and sunshine and Spain. Now, I’m not one to brag, but I have to admit I’ve become pretty good at making gazpacho; my recipe tastes just as good as I remember Senora Rosario’s when I was living in Sevilla. So, without further ado, here is an easy, delicious, fresh and healthy recipe to get ready you for summer.

Gazpacho Andaluz (adapted from Karlos Arguiñano)

Makes 700 grams/3 cups

  • Four very ripe tomatoes
  • Half a cucumber (peeled)
  • Half a red pepper (you can use a yellow or orange pepper too)
  • One clove of garlic (medium-sized)
  • A chunk of old bread
  • Olive Oil (about 1.5 tablespoons-add more for taste if needed)
  • Red Wine Vinegar (about one tablespoon-add more for taste if needed)
  • Salt (to taste)

Wash and cut all the veggies into big chunks. Put the veggies in the blender. Add vinegar and oil. Blend until smooth. Add bread and salt. Blend again (it should be a bit thick, not watery-add water if you want a lighter soup). Taste and season with salt and olive oil as needed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Serve with crusty bread and Spanish tortilla or charcuterie.

What are your favorite get into summer recipes?

Gazpacho

 

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Style File: Frenchies

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I have to admit that since moving to France, I’ve been surprised by French style. People are generally well dressed and put some effort into their look, but I can’t help but get overwhelmed by a sense of cookie cutter style. Almost everyone looks good, chic as you imagine, but they all look the same. Is it a result of the French ideal of of fraternité et égalité? Maybe. Conformity of style does keep everyone more or less equal at least on the surface. Yet, uniform as French style may be, there is still much to be said for it – French women do all look so chic. So, what makes French style today?

Bill Cunningham recently did a report about Fashion Week in Paris saying that the black biker jacket “brings it all together” (he also used the word epidemic to describe the masses of these jackets!) becoming as classic and casual as denim (what could be more égalité than jeans?). Walking down the streets of Dijon or Paris you’ll see at least 100 biker jackets passing by on old or young and dressed up or casual.

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As for shoes, classic French style calls for little black flats but today wedge high tops, motorcycle boots, and Converse have taken over. Maybe it is for comfort, but the modern French girl is not so girl, she’s got an edge a la Isabel Marant. Today’s Paris classic is urban.

When it comes to color, French style is neutral: black, grey, beige, white. Neutrals are always pulled together, and never out of style. Gloomy? Boring? Maybe a bit, but always chic and trés natural making the perfect palate for the final touch of hair and makeup…

Because, for work, for play, to pick up the daily baguette, a stylish Frenchie will have her nails and lips painted, preferably red, her hair a bit disheveled or in a little bun on the top of her head, so glam yet somehow so subtle. I guess that is what the French je ne sais quoi is really all about.

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Any other elements you’d add to the new French look?

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Photos via The Sartorialist, WhoWhatWhere, Vanessa Jackman, The Front Row View, Life is a Luxury,

Sara Dans Le Noir, and The Fashion Tag.

Little (beauty) Luxuries from the French Pharmacy

   One thing I’ve come to love about French culture is the respect they have for aging gracefully. While I’m sure there are many women who do go under the knife, most of the women I see on a daily basis at work are not afraid to say their age and have the lines of life on their faces to prove it; the lines add grace to their simple style and attitude toward life. While they are not afraid to age, I’m guessing they also aren’t afraid to spend a pretty penny on the hundreds of products they can pick up to indulge themselves with in the French pharmacy. There’s no miracle to aging, except joy, sleep, and some special care, so inspired by GP’s list, and tried and tested by yours truly, here are a few of my (affordable) favorites from the French pharmacy.

1. Savon de Marseille: A block of natural soap from Marseille is simple and natural. My mom and I carried a bag of 10 bars of this soap around Italy for a week after our stop in the south of France this summer, and it was totally worth it. Or,the uber stylish bottles of liquid soap look oh so pretty in a kitchen or bathroom and they all smell so good-but you’ll have to go to a store for these the eastiest bet is at Gallery Lafayette.

2. Dry Oil:  by Nuxe or Lierac. OIL? Yes, oil. Where have you been all my life? Contrary to what I though, this dry oil absorbs quickly (I use it before I dry off from the shower) and leaves my skin soft and smelling like summer. I use it on my face (yes!), body, and hair (really!) year round. For 20 euros a bottle, mine has lasted more than 6 months. A little goes a long way. Nuxe also makes face cleanser and moisturizer too. I love Aroma-Perfection purifying cleansing gel to wash my face before bed.

3. Roger and Gallet-soap, oil, perfume or lotion-such pretty packaging and smells. The scents last all day and not only smell good but offer the benefits of aromatherapy too! I love Ginger, Orange Blossom, Lemon and Cedar, and the new Fig scent.

4. Uraige– Hyseac Mat pore minimizer- I tried this as a teeny sample and made it last as long as possible after seeing the results. A little dab leaves your skin perfectly primed and your pores invisible for the day.

5. Bioderma -Anything! I love everything I’ve tried from this brand- tinted sunscreen, daily body cream, face cleaner to lip moisturizer. Easy on the skin and the wallet.

6. Avene – Anything!  The first time I used Avene thermal water was on a tour bus in Spain with 10 high schoolers who my friend and I were chaperoning around the Iberian Peninsula for ten days. Our local guide was a cool girl who was reading Kerouac, using blue Dior eyeliner, and cooling off with Avene spray. Nothing like some French thermal spring water to calm you down on a crazy day with teenagers. I try to keep a little bottle in my bag at all times-its the perfect skin pick me up after a long day at work. I also love their daily moisturizer and just recently discovered the Avene soothing moisturising mask-a creamy mask that soaks into your skin in about 10 minutes and leaves you soft and moisturized.

7. Caudelie: Living in wine country it makes sense to use wine products on the skin too. Hand cream, face moisturizer or grape seed scrub. They smell wonderful and feel great on your skin.

8. Dermophile Indien: I saw that Garance Dore had this on her list from the pharmacy. I picked as stick up the other day and have to agree with her. A simple utilitarian look, no fuss, no frills, but it leaves your lips super soft for 3.50 euros.

Any products you’d add?