Spicy Gazpacho Is On Stage

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - June 23, 2010
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It’s a dream that many children share: dancing gracefully to fairy-tale music in a glittering costume on stage as part of a professional ballet company.

For lucky kids across Oahu, this story isn’t just a fairy tale. Generations of aspiring dancers have had the good fortune to perform with Ballet Hawaii. Each year, dreams come true thanks to this wonderful community organization and the work of its tireless board of directors president, Susan Schull, who has been active in the local arts scene for several decades.

Schull, who took dance classes for almost all of her life (most recently tap), has worked for 20 years as a volunteer to support Ballet Hawaii.


Ballet Hawaii is about more than just fairy-tale productions. Its ballet school has more than 400 students year-round, as well as a popular summer school program.

The benefits of ballet are numerous and continue well past childhood. Ballet promotes good posture while also developing poise, and helps to lighten stress and increase flexibility (needless to say, it’s a great workout, too).

But perhaps the most important aspect of ballet is that it fosters creativity. The world of ballet, from the beautiful music to dramatic storylines and spectacular costumes, is the perfect place to let your imagination run wild.

For Schull, who helps to make all this possible, the reward is in seeing all the happy faces each day!

This column is dedicated to her with a hearty thanks for sharing her own special recipe for gazpacho - with a special dramatic zing, of course!

Gazpacho is a refreshing, tomato-based, cold vegetable soup that originated in the Andalusia region of Spain. It was eaten by field hands to cool off in summer months and take advantage of available stale bread and vegetables.

In Andalusia, most gazpacho recipes typically include stale bread (which is soaked and added to the vegetable blend), tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, vinegar or wine and salt. Some recipes, like this one, also include onion.

Tomatoes have high concentrations of lycopene, which is what makes them red. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and may help reduce the risk for some types of cancers. Tomatoes also are an excellent source of vita-mins A and C, and potassium.

GAZPACHO

* 2 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled
* 1 cucumber, peeled
* 1/2 cup diced green pepper
* 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
* 1 cup canned tomato juice
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
* dash Tabasco
* salt and pepper, to taste
* diced garlic, to taste (optional)


Combine in blender, chill and serve with cilantro, chopped celery or parsley as garnish.

Try a dollop of Greek yogurt on top!

Note: Recipe makes one serving, but may be doubled, tripled, etc.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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