Friday, August 11, 2006

Gazpacho

Yesterday I went to the dentist. When I was done, I was instructed that I am only to eat soft foods for the next two weeks, and only cold foods for the next 24 hours. Not a problem, I figured. I've been through this before. My wife and I made sure to stop by the grocery store on the way out and stock up on all sorts of cold, soft foods: pudding cups, jello cups, yogurt, and even a small tub of cut melon. By the time I was finished with work that day, I had discovered a problem: I was sugared out. Looking at the list of soft food suggestions that they gave me, the only cold food that wasn't sweet was cottage cheese. I was going to lose my mind if I couldn't get something savory. Then I remembered a soup that I knew would be perfect, and fortunately my boss remembered the name when I described it: gazpacho to the rescue!

Goozpacho

3 medium roma tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 medium tomatillo, cored and quartered
1 large jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
1/3 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 slice sourdough bread, torn into pieces
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 very small handful fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

First, soak the bread in water for about 10 to 30 minutes. Sourdough is a little heartier, so it can handle it. Then squeeze the water out. Put the garlic in your blender or food processor and pulse. Add the tomato and pulse a few more times to get a little liquid going at the bottom. Add everything else and pulse until any chunks left are tiny. If you're stuck using a blender to do this like I was, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to make sure there's enough liquid to blend. But remember, there's nothing in here to keep it emulsified, so if there's too much liquid, it will look broken and seperated. It doesn't make it taste bad, but some people might not like the appearance. If this happens to you, just make sure to give it a little stir with each spoonful. Make sure to chill before serving, and garnish with fresh cilantro if you like. This recipe ended up making me two servings.

Now, if you follow this recipe exactly, you'll have a soup that not only tastes really, really good, but would also please any vegan. And if it wasn't for the bread, it would even please the raw foodists. I don't want you raw foodists making this without the bread and calling it gazpacho, though. If it doesn't have bread, it's not gazpacho. It's just cold soup. Of course, if you do what I did and soak the bread in chicken stock instead of water, well, you'll have a more flavorful soup, but you can't even call it vegetarian anymore. And if you pureed it really fine and added a hit of Worcestershire sauce and a shot of vodka, I'm sure you'd have a pretty killer Bloody Mary. Seriously, this reminded me of a Virgin Mary I had once at a tavern in New Hampshire, except way better. If anyone tries that, let me know how it turns out.



Update (1:03pm): I've decided to name this soup after Goozbach, mostly because Goozpacho sounds way cooler than "Joseph's Gazpacho". Plus, he apparently made gazpacho once for a date with a hot vegetarian computer geek chick.

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