Gazpacho? Garbanzo? Gonzalez?
Yeah, it sounds pretty fancy, I know. But bear with me here. I promise it’s not an odd vegetable. It is, in fact, cold soup! I mentioned it in my last post on Christmas and I did promise you a recipe, à la Thomas Keller, one of my favourite chefs. It’s a great, refreshing treat for a hot summer’s day, or if you’re like me and enjoy eating ice cream in winter, then this is a perfect time to go a little crazy. You also don’t have to cook anything. Like seriously. You just blend it all together. How awesome.
Speaking of garbanzo, this is a perfect segue (why isn’t this spelt as ‘segway’?!) to my next little nugget of a story. Last March, on a lonely Winter’s evening, a girl I know (who shall remain anonymous) decided to go out on a limb and sign up for one of those talked about online-dating websites. What was the harm, right? She figured she was smart enough to not fall for any sleazeball traps and there was evidence of some success rate. So she did. And she spent quite a bit of time thinking through exactly what kind of person she was looking for : a brief description of someone athletic and family-orientated, briefly between the ages of 22-30 was established. Again, this girl was pretty bored on a Friday night alone (yes, yes) and there’s no stigma attached anymore.
Within the first 3 days, she had a couple of hits and ‘winks’, inducing but mild palpitation of her heart. And then she started getting messages and some really strange and desperate pleas for company from, lo and behold, men who were 44 and above. Did they not read her well thought out profile? Apparently not. Because the next few messages were so peculiar, she had to force herself to delete her account, all within the span of one week. In fact, sad to say, someone is still out there wondering, “Where are you, my little gorbanzo bean? In this salad of life?”
While you’re laughing at my cute story of this totally unknown girl, you can make cold tomato soup.
Sun-kissed Tomato Gazpacho
(adapted from Thomas Keller)
Makes 5 cups-ish
1 cup cold water
3 medium garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion (I used red onions for a sweeter taste)
1 cup ripe Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved, juices reserved
1 medium size cucumber
1 large yellow/red bell pepper, seeded and cored and cut into pieces
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar OR malt vinegar (since I didn’t have any sherry)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Freshly ground white pepper
3/4 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Some chives and peeled cucumber slices for fancy pancy garnishing
Method of Madness:-
- Pour water into a large bowl. Soak the garlic, onions and tomatoes (plus any juices) in the bowl.
- Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds. You can just use a spoon to scoop it out. Cut it lengthwise in half and then into large half circles. Add the cucumber and yellow/red bell pepper pieces into the bowl and let the veggies marinade for 5-8 minutes.
- While you’re waiting, you can prepare the fancy cucumber garnish by running a vegetable peeler down lengthwise to get a very thin ribbon of cucumber. Pretty!
- Once the marinading is done, transfer entire contents of bowl into a blender or Vita-Mix and, starting on low speed and then increasing speed, blend until completely smooth. (You’ll be left with some pulpy bits, no worries)
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer so only the tomato skins and a little bit of seeds should remain. It might take a while, but be patient!
- Rinse out the blended jar and return the strained tomato mixture to it. Add the vinegar, paprika, salt and white pepper to it and blend to combine. Taste! Delicious? I know!
- While the blender is running on medium-high speed, gradually drizzle the olive oil in slowly. Blend until velvety smooth. Italicized, yeah!
- Refrigerate until cold and ready to serve.
- Garnish with your pretty cucumber ribbon, chives and a drizzle of olive oil. Yummers!
So what’s the moral of this story? Make cold soup. And, continue to cautiously search for your garbanzo bean offline, in this salad of life.