Sunday, April 16, 2006

Food spotlight: Gazpacho soup in the Kitchen

Ty checks the e-mails and finds "Are you taking Easter off?" repeatedly.  Some readers didn't check out Trina's Kitchen.  We are (hopefully) almost done with this edition.  (C.I., Jess and Ava burst into laughter at that claim.)  What's taken the most time tonight?  A "mammoth" piece of feature writing by Ava and C.I. that they were determined to cut (and cut and cut . . .).  We brought Trina in to have her insight and fresh eyes on the piece.  (Thanks to Trina.)  She wrote about it tonight.

Gazpacho soup in the Kitchen

Explanations. I took last weekend off because our daughter was staying over at a friend's and our son Mike was in California. It's rare that my husband and I find 'just us' moments. I had said before that I wouldn't post every Saturday and last Saturday seemed like a perfect opportunity to take a night off.

I checked the e-mail account and two people expressed disappointment that I'd taken two Saturdays off. I am posting tonight and I e-mailed them to let them know. I'm late posting because I was brought in on a piece for The Third Estate Sunday Review. Not to write it, Ava and C.I. have written it. But it's an epic and they were cutting various sections while Jim was reading the draft they were cutting from. Ava and C.I. write the TV commentaries themselves but, probably due to the interest in this one addressing the criticisms of Katie Couric, everyone had an opinion on what mattered most and what didn't.

I wasn't brought in as a referee but as one more voice offering a perspective. I honestly think the entire thing should go up as is but I do understand that they think it's far too long. There are a lot of points to cover (and they do it wonderfully). It was interesting to see which parts were favorites for whom. I recommend that you check out The Third Estate Sunday Review tomorrow and wait for the concluding paragraph which is one of my favorites in the whole thing. (It's also the one that women were fighting to include but some of the men were saying, "If you lose anything, lose the last paragraph.") (That's noted with permission.)

I offer my little bits and pieces here but I can, at least, take pride in being part of the community and reading Ava and C.I.'s latest TV commentary, I'm very proud to be a part of this community.

Let me do the recipe. Cindy provided this and Wally's mother and I both made it this week to wonderful results. It's spring and, as Cindy wrote, summer will be here shortly. For Cindy, and for many others, summer means gazpacho due to the fact that gardens are sprouting fresh vegetables. Gazpacho is a soup served cold and the perfect soup for a hot day.

46 ounces of tomato juice
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 small white onion chopped
1 small red onion chopped
1 cucmber peeled and chopped
2 green chiles chopped
1 clove of garlic minced
1 table spoon of olive oil
1 table spoon of chopped chives (found in the dried spices section of the supermarket)
3 table spoons of red wine vinegar
1 1/2 a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce or full teaspoon of crushed red pepper
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
2 lemons sliced into wedges (for garnish, may be skipped)

Combine all ingredients with the exception of the garnish (lemon wedges), cucumber and bell pepper. Place this mixture in a blender and use the pulse option repeatedly for two minutes. (Repeatedly, start and then stop. Do not run the pulse option for two minutes without stopping unless you want a very creamy texture.) (If you do not have a blender, combine those ingredients in a large bowl and stir by hand to get a consistent texture.) If using a blender, pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add the cucumber and bell pepper (not the lemon wedges) to the mixture.

Additionally, you can chop two fresh tomatoes. If adding those, add them in the step where you add them in the step where you add the cucumber and bell pepper. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Let me remind you again that using the freezer for a lesser time will not work.

Serve in bowls and use the lemon wedges as garnish. As with my iced tea, I like to squeeze mine into the bowl before I begin eating the soup.

There is no cooking involved in this recipe which is why Cindy enjoys it. She writes that in August, she lives on it because she can come home from work, fix it, let it chill while she relaxes and then eat it "without ever having to stand over a hot stove."

Wally's mother has been playing with the recipe and has had success adding chopped celery. If you'd like to try that as well, add it the blender (or mixing) stage. Cindy loves gazpacho (try it and you will too) and noted that her mother used to make it two other ways. As she described it, I thought I had the recipes she was talking about. I was right about one and wrong on the other. This gazpacho recipe is from The Joy of Cooking and it's a blender recipe that serves one.

Blender Gazpacho
Blend together 2 or 3 minutes
1/4 cup pared, seeded cucumbers
3/4 cup skinned, seeded tomatoes
1/4 cup condensed consomme or water
1/2 teaspoon chopped red pimento

Add and blend for a short time:
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon olive oil

Add but do not blend, as the flavor would be too strong:
1 teaspoon chopped chives
Season to taste
and serve by pouring the broth over 2 ice cubes.
A good garnish is:
Garlic croutons

That recipe will give you one individual serving if you are pressed for time.

All I want to talk about is Ava and C.I.'s commentary. I keep stopping and telling my husband about it. So let me wrap this up quickly for fear of spoiling some surprises in that.

Seth has had some family health issues and took some time off from blogging. However, he is back to blogging and has done three posts this week. So, for anyone who wasn't aware he had returned -- a development I would've noted last week if I'd blogged, visit Seth in the City.

Be sure to read Ruth's Public Radio Report which went up today. I listened to WBAI's Law and Disorder this week and if you haven't had your interest peaked about that program, you're not reading Ruth's reports. One of the guests, it was announced, would be played by Halle Berry in an upcoming film (Venita Gupta was the guest). Maybe that will make you curious to hear what case the lawyer is working on?

My son Mike's "Kendall-Smith sentenced to 8 months & trip to California" describes the trip to California a number of community members made. C.I. has been covering the issue of Dexter Filkins throughout the week (not a new issue for The Common Ills) but the two entries I most enjoyed were "NYT: The Davids, covering Plamegate, long to be Rod Stewart" for the humor (and I'm an old fan of Rod Stewart's) and "And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)" which is full of important items. Cedric's "2005's honor (Marian Anderson) v. 2006's shame" is not only strong commentary but also a topic (a new stamp) that I hadn't read or heard of so be sure to read that. Kat's "Music" was one of my husband's favorite posts this week (and he extends an open invite to Kat to visit any time and discuss and listen to music). Betty will make you laugh with "My 'caring' husband Thomas Friedman worries I don't have time to appreciate his 'genius'" and Wally's mother picked his "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY GOT SOME HARD LEARNING DISABILITIES!" as her personal favorite this week. Rebecca's "flashpoints and indymedia" is a long commentary covering a number of issues. I wanted to highlight a piece by Elaine but she's going to add to it and asked me not to since she hasn't been able to. I'll grab it next week. "'What I Didn't Find In Iraq' by Bully Boy" was published last Sunday but, if you missed it, please check that out as well.

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