Saturday, November 14, 2009


Gazpacho as I have had it always bothers me. It was glorified picadillo with a taste that reminded me of a tart bloody mary. I hate bloody marys, they taste like V8, which in my book is disgusting. In any case, my boyfriend loves it. I aim to please and he has been working extra hard this week, so I started to think about gazpacho. I wondered: how do i make it less tart and more flavorful? I had food memories of a trip to Spain, the first thing that came to mind was this indescribably good dish I had: avocado with vinaigrette inside each half (where the pit once was). Then I began to think about what gazpacho really is at its core. I think its salad. I then set out to make the best gazpacho ever.

I started out by chopping tomatoes (seeding them into the bowl first). When I only had two tomatoes left, I had watermelon hanging around and thought the texture of the two for the tomato juice soup base would be perfect; it would take away from the acidity of the tomatoes. I blended the two tomatoes with a few chunks of watermelon, added salt and a dash of baking soda (counteracts the acid) and it was perfect. I threw it into the bowl.

The next thing I started thinking about was onions. When I make salad I always try and pickle the onions in the vinegar or salad dressing while I work on other things so that they have a chance to lose that sharpness. The onions usually mellow in flavor, change in turgidity and become sweeter.

I started by juicing half a lime and then chopped three medium garlic cloves. I used the italian method of smashing the garlic with salt, pepper and olive oil to make a fine paste. The garlic is uncooked, so this intensifies the flavor without being overpowering. I added the paste to the lime juice and added red wine vinegar. I always salt and pepper the dressing at this point because it can dissolve in the vinegar, later on the oil prevents it from mixing well. I added mustard just like in dressing and then added the worcestershire and just half a dash of vanilla and soy sauce. I know, weird, but I have weird gut instincts when it comes to tomatoes. I grew up eating so many tomato based dishes (mexican) that I just know what helps. Anyway I started to think that it was almost a french mignonette. Migonette is delicious dressing made with red wine vinegar, chopped tomatoes and chopped basil. Its so simple yet intensely savory with the right amount of garlic and truffle oil. I threw tomato and basil in and blended and then I added a bunch of truffle oil. Perfect!

Then I started to think about sun-dried tomatoes because I was going to soak golden raisins in brandy for my fiber breakfast bars. I microwaved 3-4 sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil) for two minutes in a bit of water and brandy (half and half-just so they were covered). I tried blending this and it was hard. It didnt really work, but I did blend them a long time and then separated the pulp from the juice and into the giant glass bowl it went.

I made tiny matchsticks of the celery (about one small stalk), 2 jalape~os (seeded) and 3/4 of a cucumber (seeded) and chopped them into millimiter cubes. They got dumped in.

Then assembly. Dumped the juice in, the vinegarette (w/onions), 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste into the ginourmous glass bowl and added water as needed. Ladled the 'soup' into a bowl. Added cubes of avocado to the bowl directly --to ensure it doesnt become mushy in the soup and to ensure I had a bunch in my bowl. Some chopped cilantro and the taste had just enough sweetness so that its a background note (you cant taste the watermelon). The vinaigrette added a richness and a bright acidity that was not overpowering. The tomatoes' own acidity was tempered by the watermelon and two tablespoons of tomato paste. NO salty tomato juice or canned tomatoes allowed!