Special Fourth of July | Around About North County

I hope you celebrated the 4th of July with family and friends and enjoyed good food, good company, and great entertainment! We started our day in Templeton with pancakes served by the Templeton Fire Department at their fundraiser.

Then we watched the wonderful, very patriotic, Independence Day parade organized by our Templeton Rotary Club. It was one of those “feel good” parades that included WWII Veterans, Cecil Gambel, Rex Hendricks, Thomas R. Hidalgo, and Robert “Bob” Brown, as Grand Marshals, riding in a 1953 Buick convertible and a 1967 Oldsmobile convertible, owned by William O’Neil, the Templeton High School band, made up of current students and alums, and Camp Roberts soldiers in period costumes, who performed as part of the Daughters of the American Revolution entry, depicting the historic event when Molly Pitcher took over the firing of a cannon. (Look that one up in your history book!). There were over 70 entries and the crowd cheered Manuel Enrique and his Dancing Horses who performed with great precision. They were toward the end of the parade, needless to say — it was a clean-up issue!

The club also had a hotdog booth and added rootbeer floats to the menu this year, which were extremely popular with the crowd. Proceeds from the booth will go toward scholarships for local Templeton High School students.

Later in the day, we joined Diane and Mike Schneider and Carol and Paul Porter at the Freedom Bluegrass Festival at Atascadero Lake Park, organized as a fundraiser for Atascadero Colony Days. The event was free to the public, but food was available for purchase. The Printery Foundation provided beer and wine for purchase, as a fundraiser for the historic Printery building restoration.

All in all, it was a special 4th of July, with family and friends!

Since the community concerts have begun and we all like to take something to eat or drink, I thought it would be fun to include this recipe for Gazpacho. It is a recipe included in the beautiful cookbook authored by Brian Talley of Talley Farms in Arroyo Grande.

I love Gazpacho, a classic cold soup that can be served as a chilled soup in a bowl with a spoon, or in a glass as a drink, making it easy to travel with to a picnic. It can be garnished with cilantro, diced avocado, grilled shrimp, and/or croutons. I have served it with tortilla chips or small tacos.

This recipe is perfect for summer as it calls for tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers and is easy to prepare. That it is super healthy is a plus!


Brian Talley’s Gazpacho


1 rib celery

½ green bell pepper, core and seeds removed, coarsely chopped

½ red bell pepper, core and seeds removed, coarsely chopped

½ jalapeno pepper, core and seeds removed, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic

1 onion

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, plus more to taste (substitute: red wine vinegar)

1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded

4 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, roughly chopped

Black pepper to taste

¼ cup olive oil, plus more to taste

¼ cup fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon sugar, optional

Optional garnishes: diced avocado, grilled shrimp, toasted bread crumbs



Puree celery, peppers, garlic, onion, salt, vinegar, cucumber, tomatoes, and pepper in a blender. Pour into a bowl and add olive oil in a stream while whisking. Correct seasoning.

Keep tasting to check balance, adjusting salt and vinegar. Gazpacho is all about texture and the balance between the tart flavors from the cucumbers and vinegar versus the sweetness of the tomatoes. If the tomatoes aren’t sweet enough, add a little sugar. For an even smoother gazpacho, pass it through a sieve. Chill at least 30 minutes or overnight. Garnish with suggested options.

Serves 4

Note: I have served the Gazpacho “buffet-style” and set out the garnishes for guests to choose their own. In that case, I add a bowl of chopped fresh tomatoes. For a picnic, I take the Gazpacho in a large thermos and serve it in clear plastic glasses with a spoon for the garnishes.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.



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