June 2007


You know how they always say, “everything happens at once.” Well, it’s definitely my turn. This weekend we’re moving apartments and getting a new puppy! Needless to say, I didn’t have much time to think about this week’s recipe with packing and puppies on my mind. Lucky for me I have friends who love healthy cooking just as much as I do.

Today’s recipe comes from Cindy McDonald, the mother of my good friend Lauren. Lauren and Cindy definitely consider food one of their core hobbies, just like me! They were kind enough to share a summery seafood gazpacho for this week’s issue. Thanks to the McDonald’s for their help!


Serves 6


1 cup shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined, cut into bite sized pieces (I’d say 20ish)
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (Mrs. McDonald uses canned whole tomatoes, already peeled)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
5 cups tomato juice (she used V~8)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1/4 cup vodka, or to taste (optional)
1/2 pound lump crab meat

Note: Coarsely chop the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion in a food processor.

If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the vegetables manually. You’ll just have a chunkier gazpacho.

Transfer to a large bowl and add minced garlic, tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar, Tabasco sauce, salt and vodka, if using. Mix well and pour mixture over shrimp and crabmeat. Cover and chill thoroughly for several hours.

Add croutons and/or freshly chopped cilantro for garnish.

I hope you enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings. Next week,


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings



I always find myself eating lighter during the summer. It might be because D.C. is like a swamp during July and August and my clothes are already sticking to my skin, or it might be that I want to look OK at the pool. Regardless of the reason, seasonal summer foods are delicious with little fancy preparation needed.

I made the following meal on Monday night, after a humid 90 degree day. The salmon recipe was made for me last fall by my good friend Allison (who deserves a shout out because she’s getting married in TWO days – yay!).

I decided to make a compound butter for the corn because (a) I have a ridiculous amount of fresh herbs that are dying to be used, and (B) the corn needed a little something exciting. It sounds so gourmet, but its really a piece of cake!


Serves 2

Wild salmon is in season NOW. So run, don’t walk, to your nearest grocery store and buy some. I bought a little more than 1/2 pound for two reasonably-sized portions.

If you don’t like salmon, this recipe will work for almost any flaky fish – Mahi Mahi, Halibut, etc…

In a large plastic bag, put 1.5 tbs dijon mustard, 1.5 tbs. maple syrup (yes, Aunt Jemima is fine), .5 tbs. balsamic vinegar, 1/8 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Marinate the salmon in the plastic baggie for as long as possible, as much as an hour but as little as 20 minutes.

Heat up your grill (or grill pan). Place the salmon on the grill, skin side up. Let is grill for five minutes. Carefully flip the salmon over with a spatula and grill for an additional five minutes. The salmon will be cooked perfectly.

Note: You can also broil the salmon.

Serves 2

Take 1.5 tbs. of butter out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter top so it will begin to soften. Melt 1 tbs. butter in a pan over medium heat. Add 1.5 tsp. finely chopped shallots to the pan. Saute until they’re translucent, a few minutes.

Add the shallots to the bowl with the 1.5 tbs. butter. Add 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves. Mash the butter with a fork so the shallots and thyme are incorporated into the butter.

Wet your hands. If you want the butter to look “pretty,” roll it into a ball with your hands and put into the freezer to reset. Spread onto cooked (boiled for five minutes) corn cobs. Remember, a little goes a long way!

Bon Appetit!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings


Summer is the best time for a good old fashioned barbecue. The fruits and veggies that are in season during the summer (watermelon, corn, tomatoes, etc… ) are the perfect accompaniments to your feast.

My friends and I had a barbecue on Memorial Day, which I began to blog about here. Below are some of the other fabulous dishes we made to round out our meal.


WATERMELON SALAD WITH MINT LEAVES – Courtesy of the Food Network
Serves 6

1 (5-pound) watermelon
1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
6 whole mint sprigs

Separate the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.

To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with mint leaves.

BARBECUE TURKEY BURGERS – Courtesy Cooking Light
Makes 4 Burgers

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbs. barbecue sauce
2 tbs. dry breadcrumbs
2 tbs. mustard
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. ground turkey

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Divide into 4 equal portions and grill for 7 minutes on each side.

Bon Appetit!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

Last night I made this recipe from Cooking Light. It was really really good, but if you decide to make it, I’d use less garlic and more basil. 🙂


Lemon-Basil Chicken with Basil Aioli
Serves 4

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray

Basil Aioli:
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to basil mixture, turning to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes on each side or until done.

While chicken cooks, prepare aioli. Combine 1/4 cup basil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve with chicken.

We had a BBQ on our roof on Memorial Day. We had WAY too much food (obviously) but one of the favorites was my tomato-corn salad. It is super easy to prepare but is perfect for a picnic on a warm summer night.

Tomato-Corn Salad
Serves 8

Combine the following in a bowl:

2 pintscherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup sliced green onion tops
4 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ears worth of boiled corn kernels (cut off the corn with a knife)


After I posted this recipe and completly wrote off Avocado Oil, the lovely folks at Olivado Gourmet Foods offered to send me some samples of avocado oil just so I could see what I was missing.

Let me tell you, I made the recipe on Tuesday night for a friend, WITH the avocado oil. It was amazing how much of a difference I tasted. Avocado oil is rich and buttery (like avocados, duh) and the flavors totally came through in the dish.

Avocado oil is sold (even the Olivado brand) at local supermarkets. I even found it at my local Giant the other day!


I spent the majority of last week in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. While Amsterdam has some great museums, beautiful flowers and interesting nightlife, the city isn’t known for its food. Upon my return, I found myself yearning for a big salad.

So, the night I came back I fixed myself a HUGE salad. As I was pouring my homemade dressing onto the salad I thought to myself, “I wonder how many people waste money (and calories/fat) using store-bought salad dressings!”

Today’s Hillman’s Helpings consists of 3 great salads dressings that can be made quickly and with minimal effort.



Blend the following in a food processor or blender:

1 tsp. salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs. dijon mustard
¾ cup balsamic vinegar

Gradually add 1.25 cups extra virgin olive oil. Blend until incorporated.


Whisk Together:

¼ cup vegetable oil
3 tbs. white vinegar
2 tbs. hoisin sauce
2 tbs. sesame oil
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. dry mustard


Whisk together:

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves chopped garlic
5 minced basil leaves
1 tbs.. honey
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ cup olive oil

I hope you enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings