This is my go-to on a hot summer evening. Adapted from the LCBO (if you ever get to Canada visit their liquor stores and pick up the Food & Drink magazine). A wonderful starter or meal on a hot summer day.

Crostini and Croutons

¼ cup olive oil

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 baguette, preferably day-old


4 cups cherry tomatoes (I love the heirloom) or 3 to 4 seeded and chunked large ripe tomatoes

1 large garlic clove

1-1/2 tsp Wow-A Chihuahua

½ cucumber, peeled

1 small sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil


1 lb cooked and peeled frozen shrimp – or buy fresh cooked

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

¼ cup finely diced red onion

Zest and juice of 1 large lime

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Wow-A Chihuahua

1 ripe avocado

Stir oil with garlic. To make crostini, cut 24 slices of baguette ¼-inch thick. Brush on both sides with garlicky oil; lay slightly apart on a baking sheet. To make croutons, chop remaining baguette to make 2 to 3 cups of irregular croutons. Brush bread ends and any imperfect slices with some of the garlic oil. Roughly pull or cut these into ¼-inch dice; spread in the center part of the baking sheet. Bake all in a single layer in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes or until toasted. Cool in pan on a rack; store in an airtight container for days.


To make gazpacho, rinse, dry and remove any stems from tomatoes. Place garlic and tomatoes in a blender and puree for 40 seconds. Add cucumber, red pepper. Wow-A Chihuahua and vinegar; whirl until puréed. Then, while the blender is running on slow, drizzle in olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days to allow flavors to meld.

When ready to serve, stir gazpacho well and measure ⅓ cup into each small glass. Top with a few croutons and a short shake of Wow-A Chihuahua if you want a little extra zip.

To make ceviche, defrost shrimp (or buy fresh cooked at the store); remove and discard tails. Roll shrimp in several layers of paper towels to sop up the water that’s leftover from freezing lightly squeeze in fresh towels if needed to remove more moisture. Coarsely chop shrimp; cover and promptly refrigerate.

Stir onion with jalapeno, lime zest and juice, olive oil, and Wow-A Chihuahua. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours or up to a day, covered and refrigerated, to develop flavors.

A couple of hours before serving, stir shrimp into onion mixture. Dice avocado; gently fold into shrimp. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until needed.

To serve, heap shrimp mixture on crostini. Garnish if you like with a sprig of cilantro. Serve right away with gazpacho.

Makes 6 shooters and 24 crostini

A perfect starter or light meal for a hot summer night!