9/13/10

Mucho Gazpacho

As a kid, there were two things I hated, tomatoes, and my fifth-grade Math teacher (whose name escapes me. Although I'd be inclined to call her an ill bred, blustering old windbag . . . if I knew what that meant).

Anyway, I have since recovered. And today...I love tomatoes.


I've been guzzling this refreshing liquid salad by the gallon. It's helped get me through a very busy, very hot summer.
This soup has also given me enough fuel to keep up with Thumper, about 15 to 20 MPG.
Your mileage may vary.


I prefer this soup smooth, rather than chunky. Some chefs would probably toque-slap me for pureeing Gazpacho until homogeneous. They would insist I carefully cut several pounds of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, by hand.
Ha Ha. Those wacky culinary experts.

Well, I denounce their rigid ways. And I suggest you do the same. Prepare this soup whichever way you like.

Gazpacho

2 pounds Roma tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 cups tomato juice
¼ cup Italian parsley
Juice of one lime
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Topping suggestions: crabmeat (my choice), shrimp, diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, sliced avocados, and the list goes on.

Place all ingredients (except toppings) in a blender, or food processor, and purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, or pitcher, and refrigerate until very cold, 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.



By the way,   I didn't limit my Gazpacho consumption  to the traditional ingredients. I found this dessert-y Gazpacho in a book by a favorite cookbook author, which includes summer berries, as well as a variety of tropical fruits that would make Carmen Miranda chica-chica-boom-chica-boom-boom back to stardom.
Of course, she's no longer with us, but if she were...well, that'd be downright creepy.


Again, I puréed all the ingredients in this soup. Topping each serving with homemade strawberry, kiwi and mango sorbets.
If you want to try making Mango Sorbet here is a really good one from a few years back.
And while I'm not one to over-hype things, I will say that if you try this soup, all your dreams will come true ;-Þ




Exotic Fruit Gazpacho


1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 papaya finely diced
1 kiwifruit, peeled and diced

Garnish with:
Fruit sorbet and fresh mint leaves

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Reserve.

Set aside 1/2 pint of the smaller strawberries for garnish and combine the rest with the raspberries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor, fitted with the metal blade.
Purée them until smooth. Strain the mixture into a large (non-aluminum) bowl, and add the reserved sugar syrup and chopped mint. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To serve, dice the reserved strawberries. Ladle soup into 6 shallow soup bowls, then arrange the fruits on top. Place a scoop of sorbet in the center of each bowl and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from: The California Cook, by Dianne Rossen Worthington.




With a nod to Spain and its wonderful cuisine, I'm also including my recipe for a buttery, crumbly cookie, similar to shortbread, called, Polvorones. I think these cookies complement the fruity Gazpacho very well.
And I should confess that, where I'm from, Polvorones are made with lard!
Sorry, I don't normally use that kind of language.
However, you'll be happy to know I broke with tradition by using a combination of butter and shortening.


Polvorones

½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dredging
2-¼ cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and butter, the sugar and salt, about 3-5 minutes. Add flour, all at once, and gently blend, just until dough starts to cling together. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. Roll in granulated sugar, and, with your thumb, make a slight indentation in the center. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets  1½-inches apart. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Polvorones should be pale in color
Makes  4½ to  5 dozen cookies.




In other news, Thumper started Middle School this year. No, I will not cry.
But here's a photo of my precious little playmate  which pretty much sums up my feelings at the moment...




Let me also take this opportunity to apologize to my foodie brigade, for having disappeared for four months. 
There were some health issues within our family, and amid the chaos, our beloved pet Louie passed away. This was two months ago, and I miss him.

This Boston Terrier, will forever remain the most amazing little friend I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and sharing pizza with.

He was so intelligent, I know he could've balanced our checkbook if we let him. But, he was head over heels in love with a Boxer next door, so he couldn't be fully trusted with our finances.

But I know my furry baby is happily gallivanting somewhere up in Heaven with Socks, our tuxedo cat.
Needless to say, these were some of the reasons I hadn't felt motivated to blog, but that's slowly changing. Besides, I've missed you all, and couldn't stand being away much longer.


Here's an older " picture of  our gentle coach, "training" Thumper for the 2007 skateboard championship.

Who's a good boy!?!

27 comments:

  1. I love tomatoes and gazpachos! Both the sweet and savories versions look delicghtful and the cookies look divine!

    I'm so sorry to hear about the passing away of your Bonston terrier. He was so cute...

    Great to see that you are back!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I was thinking of you the other day and here you are! I don't think I could choose a favorite between the sweet and savory recipes. Ive been enjoying my evening tomato harvest of raisin tomatoes, and will be missing them immensely this winter.

    Louie is so handsome, and I know you miss him greatly. I smiled when you said he was in love with a Boxer next door. We have a Boxer and they are easy to fall head over heels in love with. Kiki is blowing kisses to your Louie.

    And Thumper is growing up on you :-)

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  3. You have been sorely missed! but definitely worth the wait! That is some tomato :) and that kid is so cute!

    I am so sorry about Louie. Makes for a quiet house. We lost our Trixie last month. Even with two others the house is lonely sometimes!
    but Middle School! That handsome kid is getting big! We have road test number two coming up this week! Time flies!

    Hope all is well now, kiddo!

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  4. Sol, so happy to see you back. Your posts are always worth waiting for.

    I'm truly sorry my friend, on your loss.

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  5. Your life has been rich, full and busy Sol, and I'm sure Louie's life was as well. Never any need to apologize for needed time away. I love your posts whenever and however often they come along.

    Middle School....ah yes. Been there. Hormonal children :) And so it begins...

    Oh my gosh, I love that photo of little Thumper! Could I please have his eyelashes???

    And the food - exquisitely presented, as always!

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  6. I'm really sorry for your loss. Louie sounds like an incredible dog, and his photos are adorable.

    glad to see you back in blogging action. I like the smooth silky texture of the soup too!

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  7. You know, I've really missed these "get-togethers."

    Thank you friends for your thoughtfulness. The house has been quiet indeed. We still have our wild child Puddin' and even she's had a difficult time adjusting to a life without a doggy to torment.

    Carol, I'm so sorry for the loss of your pup. I had no idea. Please forgive me.

    Btw, it's too soon for road test #2. You poor dear. The madness must be stopped.

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  8. par zemoase rosiile............what is the problem with child?:))

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  9. Good to see you back, Sol!
    Such artistry!
    Sorry about your pet. :(

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  10. Welcome back Sol...nice to see you back again.

    Here we still love those polvorones each Christmas made with lard, but don't eat too many of them though.

    So sorry for the loss of your fur baby and other family health issues. I know how draining they can be. Abrazos, Sharon.

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  11. Thank you guys!

    Sharon, I don't worry about most treats making their way to my hips because, with two men in the house, goodies tend to disappear fast.

    Which reminds me, I haven't had breakfast.
    Come to me Count Chocula with Marshmallows!

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  12. Anonymous15/9/10

    Beautiful picutes in your post. But then, everything about you is beautiful. I have missed you terribly.

    -Robin

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  13. Thank you tastespotting for reminding me of your blog. GORG!!! All of it. Your such a rebel...I will try it the smooth way for sure!...and so sorry :(...you too Carol.

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  14. It is great to see you back! I have never prepared gazpacho, maybe I should. Yours looks amazing just like the cookies!

    I am very sorry about your dog. :(

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  15. I am so sorry about your loss and your woes..:(
    Thumper was beautiful..still so handsome.
    Gazpacho is one of my favorite soups..I have a little post already prepared about my DSIL's:)
    It's just so good isn't it Soleil?

    The cookies look like something I will try in the future..

    Happy to see yo:)

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  16. We are both back, isn't it great! I love your pureed gazpacho recipe. Will try it your way. So sorry about your loss:( Gosh, Thumper is one handsome middle schooler:)

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  17. Sol, my friend, you know how much I adore you!! Your talent, as always, is awe-inspiring. I wish I had just a teeny bit of your creativity. *sigh*

    So sorry about the loss of your fur-baby. There are no words for that...

    T-Dude is one gorgeous x-treme sports champ. I'm sure your bat is always at the ready, fending off the admirers, particularly of the female persuasion.

    You've been missed, pal -

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  18. Hi, Sol. Again, I am very sorry about Louie, but your tribute to his memory was heart-felt and engaging.

    It is good to have you back with your fun, tempting, and diverse recipes - three today, no less! Your gazpacho-puree looks more sophisticated than the chunkier versions and probably easier to eat (as in no chunks of raw onion to consume in the soup!). I've eaten polvorones in Spain and enjoyed them....maybe it's time to try them, larded or otherwise.

    Thanks,

    Dan

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  19. Robin, you're pretty wonderful, and I've missed you too.

    Maggie, I'm not really a rebel, I just play one on the interwebz :-)

    Chriesi, Gazpacho is pretty simple and quick to make. I'd love to see your spin on it.

    Monique, it's so good to see you blogging again! I'll be over to ogle your latest entry.

    Fari, now that school is in session, I think you and I will have more time to blog.

    Lori, T-dude's favorite extreme sport is chasing the cat around the house.

    Dan, lucky you to have visited España, and tasted their cuisine! I have relatives in Orense, Spain, that I've only met, through letters and photos. Someday...

    Thank you friends for your kindness.

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  20. Sorry to hear the loss of your pet. But your gazpacho was able to comfort you fully. I love the tomato art on the plate. :D

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  21. Sending sincere condolences to you and your family on Louie's death.

    It is, however, VERY nice to see you back in the wonderful world of food again. Your contributions help to make that world a beautiful place!

    I also like gazpacho smooth - just downed 5 gazpacho shooters the other night at cocktail hour during a banquet! Yum. Just a tiny piece of pepper floating on top as a garnish. But you reminded me of a Bloody Mary that my cousin recently enjoyed - it was garnished with a shrimp, a square of pepperoni, a square of cheese, a small pickle and an olive as well as the traditional celery stalk!

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  22. Hi Marysol--
    I realized I was long overdue for a visit here, so I wanted to pop on over. As expected, things are just as beautiful in your blog as I remembered. Your photos are so phenomenal!
    I can sympathize with you regarding your precious Thumper. My youngest son (also a skateboarder) started high school a couple of weeks ago--so hard to believe, and even harder to accept! Time is sure flying . . .

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  23. Sorry to hear about the health issues and the loss of your dog.

    I like most any kind of gazpacho and if I had good lookin' tomatoes like yours, I'd make some in the a.m. Dick had a lot of fruit soups on various cruises but as for me and my taste, I'd pass. Not good enough for dessert and not tangy enough for a meal.

    Now those cookies...well I have lard in my fridge waiting for tamale instructions so..

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  24. Wonderful to have you back, dear Marysol. We've missed you and your wonderful creations, including these yummy treats. I like gazpacho chunky too, your recipe similar to mine but knowing yours is better 'cause you made it! Hugs ... and one of those cookies, please <3

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  25. Anonymous21/10/10

    Hi Aunt Mary: I love the pictures of your little man. Love, Kathy

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  26. when I lived in Spain long years ago I ate polvorones they are really good.
    Great cooking blog you have.
    regards
    olga.

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