Sunday, May 28, 2006

Plop, Glug, Whirrrrrr.

I had planned a number of postings for this weekend. I was going to create a couple more alternative identities, post a few more reviews of films, and review a book or two.

But something wonderful has happened. Le soleil est apparu. I can't stay indoors at the computer. It's impossible!

Yesterday I inaugurated the gazpacho season with a cold soup made of pureed yellow pear tomatoes, vine tomatoes and peppers (among other things, including fresh basil). It turned out golden, sweet, and tangy. Served chilled with crusty whole wheat baguette smeared with goat cheese, it tastes like summer. Now it's time to frolic in the sun. Here's the gazpacho recipe:

Gazpacho Soleil

2 pints very ripe yellow grape or pear tomatoes
6 ripe near to bursting bright yellow vine tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 vidalia onion
2 yellow or orange dutch peppers (if you're extremely lazy, use roasted red or yellow peppers from a jar. But I guarantee it won't taste as good as if you used fresh).
1 handful fresh basil leaves (green or opal-- I prefer the opal, or pistou, as it's got more of a bite)
2-3 cloves lightly roasted garlic (you can do this in the microwave for 40 sec. You can also leave out the garlic, it will taste just fine without)
glugs and glugs of olive oil
sea salt and vinegar to taste.

Peel, seed and chop the cucumber. I usuallly seed it by cutting it lengthwise in half, and scraping the seeds out with a teaspoon. Roughly chop the onion. Combine cucumber, onion, and roasted garlic cloves in a high speed blender (I use an old 1970s Osterizer, still great after all these years), with a generous amount of olive oil (2/3 to 1 cup, or 3-4 glugs from the bottle) and sea salt. Press "blend."

Core the peppers. Roast them lightly in the microwave for a couple of minutes (6-10), then rinse in cold water and peel. If you're in a hurry, you can skip both roasting and peeling. I just like to do it because it makes a smoother gazpacho, and the peels then don't end up stuck between your teeth. Plop the peppers into the cucumber, onion, and olive oil mixture in the blender. Press "blend." Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

If the blender is full which by now it should be, pour out about half of the mixture into a large bowl. Now dump in a pint of pear or grape tomatoes. Press "blend." Whirrrrrrrrrrrr. Dump out more of the liquid into the bowl. Dump the second pint of tomatoes into the blender. Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Add a glug or two of olive oil, and vinegar to taste. Whirrrrrrrrrr.

If your vine tomatoes are incredibly ripe, so ripe that they'd fall apart if you were to cut into them, just plop them in the blender. If they are a little hard in the center, core them simply by slicing in half straight down the cleft and scraping out the core - the hard part near the top - with your fingers (discard the cores). Plop them in the blender, with a handful of basil leaves. Whirrrrrrrrrr.

Dump the contents of the blender out into the bowl. Mix with a spatula, add freshly ground pepper and whatever else you think it needs after you've tasted it.

If you plan to eat it right away, and you should, plop a few ice cubes into your bowl. Refrigerate the rest. It will be even better the second day.

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