Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Soup

If there's one thing I can't go without during the summer, it's gazpacho. I'm not too picky about how it's made, as long as it has all of the right ingredients (there's some foreshadowing for you). This means that I don't usually use a recipe. For better or for worse (there's even more foreshadowing for you). I don't always include bread when making gazpacho, but I did this time... I find that it softens the taste a bit, taking away that fierce bite this soup can sometimes have.
As you can see from the picture, the ingredients for this delicious soup are fairly straightforward. (Note: 1 cucumber is usually enough.)

Step 1a: Cut everything up into chunks

Step 1b: Before blending it all together, I like to reserve some chunks to add back into the blended mix at the end, which brings some nice texture to the soup.

Step 2: Blend and add back in reserved chunks (ok, it doesn't look that appetizing, I'll give you that).

Step 3: Add salt, pepper, paprika to taste & plate.

So when I sat down to eat this gazpacho, I decided it wasn't tomato-y enough... so I decided to add a 23-oz can of whole tomatoes (not as good as fresh tomatoes, but it's what I had on hand...).

The gazpacho then turned into this:

At this point I taste the gazpacho. Tomato-flavor? check. But it still seemed to be missing that crisp and fresh summer flavor... "ah well," I told myself, "maybe I just forget what gazpacho is supposed to taste like."

So then I started cleaning up, and what do I find?? The entire cucumber that I had completely forgotten to add!

My friends: cucumbers are the key ingredients to gazpacho. They're what make it "gazpacho" and not "chilled tomato soup."

And indeed, doesn't this look delicious?

Lessons learned:
1. follow recipes (especially when you haven't made the dish in a while)
2. don't forget ingredients

Here's roughly the recipe I used (all ingredients ultimately accounted for); a cross between this epicurious recipe and this Ina Garten recipe.
  • 5-6 tomatoes (i threw in a yellow one for good measure), halved
  • 1/3 pound country-style bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2-3 cups)
  • 23-oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1 whole chopped peeled English hothouse cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup White wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste

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