Rubicon Trail Hike

A couple of weeks ago we drove up to Tahoe to hike one of our favorite, and THE most beautiful trail we know. Scenic views of Tahoe’s sapphire blue lake, stately green conifers, and crystal clear skies above us took our breath away as we made our way along the western shoreline.

This trail connects D. L. Bliss State Park with Emerald Bay State Park with the entire trail being 6 1/2 miles long if you go all the way to Vikingsholm Castle. ┬áHikers can go the entire distance or keep it shorter and turn around at any point. At an elevation of 6000 – 6500 feet you’ll not only experience astoundingly gorgeous vistas, but you’ll also experience majestic granite boulders, gentle waterfalls, and fun little rock caves along the way.

Mark Twain must have been right here when he said that Lake Tahoe’s air was pure enough for angels. This is the Rubicon Trail!

Gazpacho

The first day of fall was yesterday, but I’m still happily harvesting lovely amounts of garden goodness from my veggie garden. This time of year is ripe for puttering in the kitchen making salsas, tomato sauces, my favorite carrot-tomato soup and doing some freezing too, because honestly, isn’t it a treat to taste summer vegetables in winter?

Even though it’s late September and I’m starting to decorate the porch with pumpkins and everything autumn-themed, our temperatures have risen to the high 80s – low 90s and so today I’m making cold, healthy, flavorful Gazpacho. Basically, I’m just dicing and blending! What could be easier?

Gazpacho

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 large cucumber, diced

5 tomatoes, diced

1 zucchini, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

salt and pepper to suit your taste

1/4 gallon tomato juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons white sugar

6 dashes Tabasco

Preparation:

In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, and a dash of salt.

Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; mixture will have a nice speckled, colorful texture.Put into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and half of the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. Reserve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnish.

Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least a couple of hours so flavors can meld.

Remove the soup from fridge and stir. Check seasonings one last time. Ladle into bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables. A few avocado cubes and fresh Italian Parsley are my favorite additional toppings. Use whatever you like.

Easy Peasy and so delicious!