Posts tagged ‘Cucumber’

June 2, 2015

Revisited: Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Gazpacho Redux

With both the legislative session and school winding down, I’m making it a goal this summer to really explore one or two international cuisines. I realized recently that not really having the opportunity to cook for several months has left me in something of a culinary rut. I think a deep dive into the subtleties of a specific palette is just what the chef-doctor ordered.

And since a visit to Spain many years ago was what really piqued my interest in cooking, so it only seemed like a fitting place to return.

Almost four years ago (!) when I had just started this blog, I posted a recipe for one of the most ubiquitous of Spanish dishes – gazpacho. Here is what I wrote at the time:

There are hundreds of ways to spice up a gazpacho recipe – and believe me, I’ll be back here with some of my own takes down the road – but for a quick, refreshing dish on a hot day, you can’t beat the original.

Don’t say I’m not a man of my word.

Technically the addition of bread to this dish would make it salmorejo, the less famous cousin of gazpacho, but it’s largely the same concept. This recipe is a bit heartier – enough to be a light meal by itself – but still delightful for a warm summer day. The fried capers offer little bursts of salt and vinegar that help break up the flavor of the soup. The pea shoots, meanwhile, are a beautiful visual addition that also provide some diversity in texture.

Traditional? Not as much. Delicious? Sí.

Gazpacho with Pea Shoots and Capers

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup crusty bread, preferably a bit stale, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon pimentón or smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for plating
  • 10-12 capers
  • 1/2 cup pea shoots

Instructions

  1. Place the cubed bread in a small bowl with the vinegar. Let it stand until all of the liquid has been absorbed so that the bread is slightly soggy.
  2. Roughly chop the red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and garlic. Don’t worry about getting them too small or the same size.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables to food processor along with the bread, pimentón, cumin and quarter cup of olive oil. Blend to your desired consistency (there are all manner of opinions on how much you should blend your gazpacho. I’m a fan of almost completely smooth, but it’s up to you).
  4. Chill the soup for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. Feel free to let it sit overnight, as the flavors only develop over time.
  5. To serve, fry your capers in a small sauce pan with a dash of oil until lightly crisped and beginning to lose their shape, about 2-3 minutes. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the gazpacho and top with a handful of capers and the pea shoots.
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July 28, 2014

Grape Leaf Potato Salad

Grape Leaf Potato Salad

If you – like me – love potato salad but are tired of the same old spices and heavy mayonnaise base, then boy do I have the dish for you.

This potato salad was inspired by a jar of grape leaves that I’ve had sitting in my refrigerator ever since I made dolmas a few months ago. I’d been brainstorming different ways to incorporate the leaves into a new, creative dish when I finally thought up this potato salad for the Fourth of July.

The grape leaves are more subtle than you might imagine if stuffed dolmas are your point of reference, but they do impart a unique finish to this potato salad. Paired with robust oregano and finished off with a tangy dressing that’s just the right amount of creamy, the flavors are assertive without being overpowering.

The addition of cucumbers provides a wonderful crunch that is often missing from more traditional versions – or is otherwise filled by celery, which can overpower other more mild ingredients. The little bursts of refreshment make this the perfect dish for a hot summer days!

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May 19, 2014

Fennel Falafel with Simple Salad

Fennel Falafel

My girlfriend Maggie and I recently celebrated two years of dating by heading up to Vancouver, BC for a long weekend getaway. We had a blast stroll through downtown and Granville Island, biking around Stanley Park, and taking in all the beautiful scenery. It’s a really wonderful area, absolutely worth a trip if you haven’t visited already.

We kind of overdid it on the food though.

We had a ton of great food while we were there, from organic farm-to-table at Fable to sublimely good Indian food at Vij’s. But a decadent multi-course meal at Wildebeest – which specializes in some of the most succulent meat you’ll ever taste – left us both a little bit of a food hangover at the end of our trip.

So when I got back, I decide to do a week of vegetarian eating to balance things it. It was in interesting experience – not one I’ll likely repeat again soon – but it did broaden my repitoire of recipes – including this falafel dish.

Traditionally a Middle Eastern food, falafel is now found in many different regional cuisines, leading to many styles and interpretations. The version in this recipe is definitely less traditional and more Greek-inspired with the addition of fresh oregano and fennel. The pair gives these falafel a more refreshing and simple flavor profile than you would find at most restaurants.

Stacked atop a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and vinegar, this dish makes for a perfect light summer meal!

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July 26, 2011

Gazpacho

If you couldn’t tell, I’m on a bit of a Spanish kick.

First, with the rustic, tangy Romesco Sauce and now with this Spanish culinary classic, Gazpacho.  Although Spanish food doesn’t have quite the reputation of French or Italian, it’s a highly underrated cuisine worthy of far more attention than it receives.

Gazpacho is a vegetable soup that is a served chilled for lunch or as a starter or side during dinner.  It only has a few ingredients (it definitely qualifies as a cheat dish, one which is easy to make can still be impressive), but the flavors work marvelously together.  The vegetable medley creates a strong foundation that is paired with some light spice from the raw onion and finished with smoky paprika and cumin notes.

Chilled, as it is meant to be served, makes it the perfect dish for a warm summer day (sure to return to Seattle soon, right? Right?).  In addition, this lighter version omits the bread, making this a raw-vegan dish – for those of you who care about that sort of thing.

There are hundreds of ways to spice up a Gazpacho recipe – and believe me, I’ll be back here with some of my own takes down the road – but for a quick, refreshing dish on a hot day, you can’t beat the original.

Gazpacho

  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 2 red peppers, cored and seeded
  • 1 cucumber, seeded
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (either white wine or apple cider)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper

 

  1. Chop the tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber and onion into half inch cubes.  Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse on the lowest setting until lightly blended.
  2. Chill for at least one hour before serving.  (The longer you allow it to chill, however, the more the flavors will develop, so leave some leftovers!)
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