Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Confession Wednesday-Things I Won't Eat

I say I eat everything; anything. And that is a lie. I don't. I will not eat bean sprouts - too worm-like, plus when they heat up from, say, a pad thai, I swear they come alive and swarm around all squishy. I will frown upon any baked goods with almond extract; and I can sniff out even a drop of it. It is so fake and synthetic-smelling. I will not cook anything with Portobello mushrooms. Don't get confused here, I know my mushrooms- I am not talking crimini (still delicate and pleasing to the palate) or button (just plain as apple sauce). No, I am talking about the mutant, spongelike, unpleasingly-tasting Portobello mushroom that are somehow confused for a vegetarian substitute for meat in a BURGER. Hello???

Not to out Mr. Pastamaker, but when we met the guy was not a fan of celery root, hated olives, limited his 'fancy' cheese-intake to Manchengo, and hadn't thought in a million years that he'd eat organs! Now, you should see him snarf on Blue de Basque, sweetbreads, and pork belly (sigh, isn't he Jewish??). And celery root mashers are now certainly a favorite.

My mom hates gazpacho. That - I don't get. My main theory is that she was too old to catch the cold soup fad. Well, it has been a fad for me but the Spanish have been eating Gazpacho and Ajo Blanco for quite a few centuries. For my mother, soup is warm. That makes gazpacho not soup. And she doesn't care for whatever else gazpacho might be categorized as.

My hope is that you love gazpacho. I adore it. And I am willing to profess my love for Jose Andres any old time. He is outstanding and his gazpacho recipe, with some personal small modifications, is a perfect quick summer dish.

Gazpacho, a Jose Andres-inspired recipe

Ingredients: 2 lbs ripe tomatoes (about 10 plum tomatoes); 1/2 lbs English cucumber (about 1 cucumber); 3 ounces green bell pepper (half a pepper); 1 garlic clove, peeled; 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar; 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil; salt to taste.


For garnish- cucumber, cut into medium dice; 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced thin; 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in small dice. You can clearly vary the garnishes in infinite ways. Be creative- you are just adding a little texture.



On Peeling Tomatoes
The tomatoes need to be peeled, for this dish and for others. You want to cut into the skin oh so gently so you don't get into the flesh. A sharp knife makes all the difference. I used to just make a little cross at the bottom of the tomato. That works, but what works best is going all the way around and removing the core.

Boil enough water in a pot to hold the tomatoes comfortably. Reduce the heat and dunk your tomatoes in for a minute or so depending on ripeness. Remove them and set aside for a couple of minutes- no points for scortching your fingers.


When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off. See? Magic!

Cut the peeled tomatoes into large chunks - quarters, eights, even halves will do. Peel and cut up the cucumber into 1/2 inch chunks- no need to make this pretty. Clean up the bell pepper of core and seeds and cut it up in 1/2-1 inch chunks.

Grab your trusty blender (mine has been through the war of making baby food without a food processor for a good year) and place in it everything- yep, all of the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings- vinegar, olive oil, salt.

Cool in the fridge for at least half an hour. Plate it with your chosen garnishes and drizzle just a few drops of olive oil around it and perhaps a sprinkle of salt.

Eat your Spanish cold soup for dinner or lunch along side other Spanish treats- may I suggest- Spanish Roasted Peppers and/or Patatas Bravas!

Photography by Jennifer Olson.

34 comments:

  1. i adore gazpacho!yours looks so fine!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It looks fresh and delicious :)
    Beautiful picutres, too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Patatas bravas (sigh). Way to work your magic and expand culinary horizons! I am with you on the portobello. Since when did this become an acceptable burger substitute?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know a lot of people who don't like gazpacho (or any cold soup for that matter). Personally, I love it... Now, I completely understand if you've only had bad gazpacho (the ones that taste like tomato juice), but when it's good, it's GOOOOOOOD!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love hot and cold soup...and I had some wonderful gazpacho when I went to Spain last year. So delicious...especially with a drizzle of olive oil and some crusty bread. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I`m with you on the Portobellos...do you think they were less sponge like before we started growing them on mass? My suspicion is that they were good once...Theresa

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fantastic and a great inspiration. Oh...there are plenty of things I still won't eat!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I liked reading this post. I agree with you about portobellos--i used to love them but one day I decided I just didn't like them that much anymore. I do eat bean sprouts and use almond extract, though.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love gazpacho, especially with loads of garlic and some crusty bread to mop up the bowl. Heavenly.
    When I know I might be dealing with the "I don't like gazpacho" crowd, I just tell them it's Spicy Tomato Juice and serve it in glasses. No one's caught on to my little trick yet. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. My mom dislikes portabellos as well, and I think gazpacho is odd, but don't mind cold soup. And as a pork loving Jew, I say bring on the pork belly!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Gazpacho is so odd, I love it but I hate tomato juice or V-8, also not a fan of other cold soups. I'll have to try your version.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mom doesn't know what she's missing. Especially this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  13. That's funny when you mentioned the food you don't like, like bean sprouts in Pad Thai. I could picture it. However, I like all the food you don't like haha.

    The gazpacho looks so good and refreshing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi, Andra. What an amusing post!

    You probably didn't know about the dominant Jewish gene which makes cravings for pork, shrimp, lobster, and bacon-cheeseburgers (double whammy there) all but impossible to resist. Now you know.

    Thanks,

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's funny that you mentioned gazpacho. I was just talking to some coworkers about it today, and none of them like it. But I think it's deliciously cooling and perfect for summer. What's wrong with cold soup?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks delicious! I won't eat egg yolks and I won't allow myself to feel an ounce guilty about it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lima beans. Somewhere inside me sits a five year old still sitting at the dinner table while everyone else has left because Mom told me if I don't eat them I can't leave.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well, I've got to agree about bean sprouts, although I'll eat them, AND about this gazpacho--looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's been a long time since I had a cold gazpacho soup, but they are wonderful on a hot summer day! Looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  20. What about peanut butter? Love this post and as always I'm inspired by your witty writing and gorgeous recipes!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I had the best gazpacho on a business trip to Miami last year, and have been looking for a simple but tasty recipe ever since. I think I've found it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Soup is a passion of mine - cold, warm, hot. Lovely gazpacho. I have a soup bowl ready.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love gazpacho!!! It is perfect for summer and can create so many versions of this perfect Spanish favorite!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ah, another gazpacho for me to try. Thanks for posting this. I can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I don't like cold soups either, even though I love Spicy V8. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I can't say I'm a huge fan of cold soups.. and the think the oddest thing I won't eat.. actually refuse to.. coconut! I just can't do it! Does that make me un-human??

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yay to all gazpacho lovers, portabello haters, and occasional picky eaters! I am in great company!

    A special thanks to Frank for not liking bean sprouts!

    Bethany- you know me too well- I won't eat it from the jar, but I do enjoy a Peanut Butter Cup - A LOT!

    Spicy Perspective- you shouldn't feel guilty about not eating egg yolks but I just have to say - I LOVE them!

    Dan- I didn't know about the dominant Jewish gene craving all things non-Kosher, but either way, my husband has it!

    Evan- you are NOT un-human. I mean, I think bean sprouts move in my pad thai like worms and I still think I'm human :)

    I love hearing your thoughts on this!

    ReplyDelete
  28. You know, I love soup, but not in the summer. Too hot. Somehow I forgot about this lovely, refreshing one. And anything Jose Andres-inspired must be tasty!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I was really intrigued with your previous post, but I love Gazpacho, so I wanted to comment that this looks like a great recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have never tried gazpacho, but my dad loves it. I think it's time to give it a shot! It's so hot here in Phoenix that a cold soup would be perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Gazpacho is a must here for summer but my mom is also of the school that soup is hot and refuses to try this. I won't eat anything that has bananas in it, I'll eat the fruit by itself but in a salad or baked goods - forget about it !

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm so glad to see other foodies that won't eat specific foods. I won't eat bean sprouts either. What a way to ruin a perfectly good pad thai or pad see ew. Looks like we're twins after all :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. LOL the funny thing is...my list of things i don't eat include...gazpacho. though i think it's more of a waiting list for a very good one, as opposed to enduring that cold soppy bowl of tomato puree restaurants serve you. *shudder*

    i totally could've made this with that unnamed new toy i bought. but we won't go there today.

    ReplyDelete