Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tastes Like Summer

Last week I was with my family in IL and on Thursday we decided to hit up Springfield to immerse ourselves in the life and history of our 16th President (Abe Lincoln, if you were struggling with that one)
For lunch we made our way to the old town square and found a place that we had eaten at two years ago called The Feed Store.
 
We came here when we visited Springfield to tour the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (awesome, btw: if you ever get the chance to go, jump on it!) I do not remember what kind of sandwich I had, but I DO remember the gazpacho soup! The first thing I asked the lady that greeted us at the door was if it was still on the menu. IT WAS! :-)
We ordered (super affordable place, mom and I ate for $20, tip included) and when the cup of gazpacho was delivered to me it smelled so lovely! I took a bite. Zing! It was cool, fresh, a little pop from the red onion and then a crunch from a cucumber. mm mm tasty!I asked my cousin if he would like to try a bite. "what does it taste like?" he asked. "Summer" was the only description that seemed appropriate.

Fast Forward 24-ish hours

I am standing in the quirky little used book store that is packed from wall to wall with old books (I'm talking, my aunt grabbed a book on the History of England that was 110yrs old, okay? I walked out of that store with only 2 books which is close to miraculous) and new books as well as children's toys, gadgets, greeting cards, bags, yard art, etc. etc. etc. My mom, aunt and I are rummaging through the cookbook section and my aunt finds a recipe for Grilled Gazpacho. :-) We read it & agree that it sounds delectable so I whip out my fancy schmansy space phone and google-it. Tons of recipes! Score!
So, as you can imagine, I have had the urge to create this in my own kitchen and almost as soon as I got home, I did! My sister asked me yesterday, "How did you grill gazpacho? Isn't it a cold soup?" It is indeed a cold soup, and here is the recipe I used.

Grilled Gazpacho-
adapted from Steven Raichlen

Ingredients:
4 scallions
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium red onion, skin peeled- cut into quarters root ends left on
1/3 -ish cup of olive oil- need to oil grill (pan) and for streaming
3 ripe tomatoes- I grabbed the ones that are on the vine still
1 med red bell pepper
1 med green bell pepper
1 medium cucumber, peeled(ish) and chopped
2 tbs white wine vineager
1 cup cold water

Directions:
Heat the Grill (pan) to high
chop scallion greens and set aside for garnish. thread scallion whites & garlic cloves onto a water soaked bamboo skewer, Thread the onion quarters on the skewer as well. (If you are using a grill pan, there is really no need to thread the onion quarters.)

        
Lightly brush (or spray) the onions/garlic with oil. Oil the grill (pan) once hot, place the skewers and onions on the grill and enjoy the smell. Turn once after a few minutes, once the veggies have those lovely grill marks remove them and place them on a plate to cool.
Core, seed and slice your bell peppers. Place on still hot grill. The peppers will take a bit longer than the garlic/onions. Once you have nice grill marks on either side and they've started to become a bit softer remove the peppers from the grill and place aside to cool.
While those are cooling, peel your cucumber and chop into one inch pieces. Wash and chop the tomatoes into one inch pieces. Place both the tomatoes and cucumbers into the blender/food processor (we have a Ninja, Hi YA!) When the rest of your veggies have cooled, chop them as well and let them join the party in the blender. Add the oil, vinegar and water. Blend to a puree.

Tomatoes & cucumbers & peppers! Oh my!

Chill for about an hour to let the flavors all become friendly with one another. Serve cold, garnished with chopped scallion greens, cold boiled shrimp or even multi-grain pita chips.
BTW: adding your tomatoes/cucumber to the blender first makes the blending easier and smoother. if you'd like your soup more runny, add more water/oil/vinegar according to your taste. Throw in some red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce for a kick.
I ate this for dinner yesterday and lunch today (though, I considered it for breakfast, to be honest) It is SO PACKED with vitamins and good for you things and it tastes awesome! Go! Make some! Thank me later!