Wednesday, July 14, 2010

like Mama makes

Vegetable gardens are in their glory right now. We are beginning to be bombarded with a plethora of fresh produce choices and, may I ask: what are we to do with it all?
I am so excited about my tiny crop of heirloom tomatoes!
Things have gotten a little overgrown. Treasures await to be uncovered!
I planted these radishes in May and they went right to seed. Now I have a lot of seeds. The pods are pretty, but I don't think edible. Maybe I can use the seeds to grow radishes in the fall. I wonder?

Gazpacho becomes the obvious solution. This cold liquid salad-as-a-soup can absorb all sorts of vegetables and herbs into it's mix and still maintain an identity. The version I make is based on a recipe my mother taught me years ago. Her source was more than likely something she read in Gourmet Magazine back in the 70's. It was the perfect recipe back then for using the brand new cooking gadget on the market - the food processor. I doubt gazpacho would have made many inroads in American kitchens before that. I recall my gazpacho crash course as a young girl when my mother decided to sell cups of gazpacho at our neighborhood street fair (W. 70th Street in Manhattan, circa 1970's. Were you there?) The gazpacho was so popular it was quickly sold out and my sister and I were sent back into the kitchen to crank out more batches all day long.

I retain a fondness for this clever Spanish originated soup to this day. The following recipe is just used as a touchstone for me as I now distort the basic concept to suit my mood and available ingredients. I don't believe even this version is quite authentic, but it tastes great and is fun to make when days are hot and tomatoes are plentiful.

Barbara's Gazpacho
1 clove Garlic
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 green or red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 small onion, quartered
1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely sliced
1 teas. salt
1/4 teas. pepper
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup ice cold water
Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree until desired consistency. 
Chill for 1/2 hour and serve.

Gazpacho has been one of my favorite summertime enjoyments for about 30 years now. I make batches of it all summer long. A well-chilled bowl in hot weather is a delightfully healthy meal. I used to try a plethora of recipes in search of the perfect one. There are so many different ways to make it - but there is a distinct style I prefer, and it is one I have tried to master for years. I finally gave up on recipes, and found my own path. Deb's recipe is very similar to the way I concoct my own version, the main difference being that I add a lot of diced vegetables to the puree. I have a pretty hearty appetite. My reason for making a "chunkier" version is really only to make it a little more filling. As an appetizer, I enjoy the pureed version. As a main course, I add lots of veggies and chopped avocado as well, only to leave my appetite satisfied.

As for wine, I want a crisp fresh white with Gazpacho. To stick with the Gazpacho's Spanish background, I might opt for a Spanish white. Foods from different regions have a particular affinity for the wines from the same regions. Albarino would be a perfect match, especially on a hot summer's day. Albarino is grown in Galicia in northwest Spain. It is typically high in acidity, with stone fruit flavors. Another wonderful option would be one of my favorite white varietals - Godello. Also grown in northwest Spain, Godello produces some very fine wines. Godellos are elegant, with terrific minerality combined with bright acidity, wonderful aromatics, and flavors of peach and melon. A little oak will add to the wine's depth and complexity - but Godello's are not well-suited to a superfluous use of oak. Beware of the over-oaked ones.

Both wines are extremely refreshing. Enjoying either alongside Deb's recipe would most certainly be a welcomed treat during the dog days of summer!

For Albarino, seek out Martin Codax. And for Godello, Val de Sil Montenovo is a moderately priced way to start! Delicious!


  1. My html has gone crazy on this post and I don't have the patience and the time to fix it right now. Please forgive and enjoy!

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this gazpacho. Easy to make, tasty as hell!

  3. You can definitely use the radish seeds to seed more either in the fall or early spring next year. If it's an heirloom variety you'll be sure to get the same exact type. Nice recipe. I have a table full of tomatoes looking for some inspiration.


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