Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Can't Stand the Heat? Try My Gaspacho!

Retire your oven & get out that blender!

As the temperature soars it becomes harder and harder to drag myself into the kitchen to cook. It’s even less appealing to heat up the joint by turning on the oven or standing over a hot burner. The problem remains: one needs to eat something! Even better, something that’s visually appealing, nutritionally satisfying that can be made in large enough quantities to cover several meals or be a good side dish. I like to eat chilled soups like Gaspacho. This Spanish soup has a tomato base it features lots of fresh veggies and is a great source of vitamin C and fiber too!

Starting with the basic ingredients, tomatoes, onions, cucumber & parsley, I experimented until I came up with this recipe. It helps if you have a good grocery store that carries Mexican foods as fresh Tomatillos & Cilantro add a wonderful zest to the main ingredients. I also prefer Videlia onions for their sweetness and plum tomatoes for their meaty quality. You’ll find your shopping list in bold.

Lizzie's Great Gaspacho

In the blender puree:
1 large Videlia Onion,
6 ripe plum tomatoes,
6 peeled, washed, tomatillos.
Add 2T garlic powder,
1T coarse sea salt.
Transfer to large bowl or pitcher. Then mix in:
1 whole cucumber (about 12 inches long), diced small
1 each large red and green pepper de-seeded & diced
1 bunch cilantro, minced
Stir, cover & chill.

By leaving some ingredients chunky it gives the whole thing texture. If you like it spicy you could puree a can of chiplote peppers in with your onion, tomato and tomatillo mixture. Some people like to add a dash of hot sauce to their individual serving. I like a dash of Balsamic vinegar.
The great Spanish film-maker, Pedro Almodovar, made a wonderful movie called “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” (featuring a young Antonio Banderas). The heroine of the movie discovers her lover has been unfaithful & decides to commit suicide by drinking a bowl of Gaspacho to which she has added a lethal dose of Barbituates. The fun starts when, as she is distracted from her mission, her friends unexpectedly start showing up at her apartment & unwittingly helping themselves to mugs of her witches brew. The action intensifies as people start passing out all over the furniture. You’ll notice my recipe is sans sleeping pills…Bon Appetite!

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