Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Destination Cooking: Part 1

Until I move into my house (hopefully soon!) I am back at the parent's house. It's great and they are lovely, but it's also weird. So this week while they are on vacation it has been a great opportunity to take advantage of the (almost) empty house. What am I doing?

I'm not throwing house parties.

I'm cooking!

I'm no great cook and I always end up dirtying a thousand dishes no matter what I make, but I enjoy cooking. It's been a long time since I had a stocked kitchen to work with, so I got busy on some recipes/dishes I had tagged to try. I find that when I can't travel, cooking and eating does a pretty good job of filling the exploratory gap. My brother Casey has filled me in that people he knows are cooking up some of my recipes, and it's been forever since I had any on here, so I thought I might throw some of these up as I go through them!

First up--Southern Spain: Gazpacho. My brother Brian has a garden and his tomatoes were piling so I decided to channel my Sevillian friend Maica and make some gazpacho. (Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup for those who aren't familiar.) Normally gazpacho includes day old bread--originally, before the days of blenders and food processors, the bread helped to pulverize/liquify the other ingredients. Maica, because of stomach issues, doesn't eat grains so makes her gazpacho with carrots in place of bread. It sounds like an odd switch, but it tasted just as good to me.

Here's the non-recipe recipe: It's more like a ratio. You want to blend together a bunch of tomatoes, a little bit less quantity of cucumber (peeled--don't be like me and forget that. It will definitely make the soup look less appetizing to have bits of green peel floating in it!), green bell pepper, a handful of chopped carrots, and a clove or two of garlic. You then pour in a good dose of oil and vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar), and some salt to taste. Then blend it up! Give it a stir and add in a little bit more of whatever you feel like it needs, or of what you like.

You will most likely want to add some water in, depending on how juicy your veggies were. Gazpacho is always served chilled, but Maica had another trick up her sleeve. Just blend in some ice in place of water and voilĂ , the gazpacho is instantly cold. Que inteligente!

You can also mix in some toppings to take it up a notch--Spanish jamon (cured ham) is typical, but I liked the addition of melon (cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelon), too.

Turn on the flamenco music and enjoy!

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