It's been an interesting summer around here dinner-wise, with just three of us at the table most nights we've gotten pretty fluid with our meal planning. For the first time, four of the kids have had rather long-term commitments that took them away for a chunk of the summer. Grid is in Manhattan working an internship for a cool tech start-up. Peyton is off to a six week camp in upstate New York, Arthas did the People to People student ambassador thing for three weeks, travelling to Greece and Italy, and Boris huffed his way through a month long NOLS course hiking and rafting in Idaho.
Cooking for the three of us remaining homebodies has meant that a late afternoon stop at the farm stand, or a serious pre-meal craving could easily inform what hit the table on any given night. Advanced meal planning has taken a back seat to spontaneity in a way that's just plain hard to manage when you're cooking for a family of seven.
So it was in this spirit that my wife called on her way home the other day to see if I needed her to pick up anything that we could easily throw together for the three of us. I told her that I had everything covered, and had in fact just put the finishing touches on a gazpacho that I was popping in the fridge to chill for dinner.
Upon hearing this news – a pregnant pause.
And I don't mean a 2-3 second pregnant pause………no, this baby was a late in the 3rd trimester pregnant pause. For a minute I thought she had driven off the road, then she shot back with a "ok, just checking" and promptly hung up. Uh oh.
I should have anticipated her reaction, because as adventurous an eater as she is, she REALLY hates gazpacho. She tells me that it has more to do with the chunkiness and heavy reliance on raw onion common to gazpachos rather than the cold soup aspect of the dish, but regardless, my gal is not a fan. If only the call had lasted long enough for me to tell her that this gazpacho was not only onion-less, but also pureed to silken perfection she may have been spared the horror, but no, the line was dead and she was probably pulled off the road and retching at the thought of gazpacho for dinner. Poor thing…..
While I'm fairly certain that she wanted to smack me upside the head when she arrived home, she was good enough to inquire about the specifics of the soup before she started rifling through the fridge for a lead on an alternative dinner. Anxious to put her mind at ease, I pulled the still chilling blender pitcher full of soup from the fridge. One taste of the smooth, tangy soup had her back in the game and proclaiming that (much to her surprise) this was a gazpacho that she not only liked, but loved!
Phew….. – Steve
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 small - medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 slices of wheat bread, roughly torn
- 1/4 teaspoon pimenton
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 10 tablespoons best quality EVOO
- 3 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro and homemade croutons for garnish
- Toss the first 10 ingredients in the pitcher of your blender and run on low until roughly chopped. Turn the machine to high and run until the soup is perfectly smooth and frothy, 2-3 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed, as well as a little more vinegar if you want. Place the hopper in the fridge to chill the soup for at least a couple of hours.
- For the croutons, take a few slices of day old, rustic bread and cut into dice. Heat a slick of EVOO over medium heat in a skillet, toss in the cubes of bread and toss the pan to coat them in the oil. Season with salt and pepper, and cook tossing frequently until golden brown. remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool when finished.
- To serve, pull the pitcher from the fridge and process the soup again quickly on medium speed to re-blend the ingredients. Pour into bowls and top with croutons, chopped cilantro and a thin stream of EVOO.