Thursday, September 10, 2009


grape and marcona almond gazpacho
blogging, i think,
should be an up-to-date
process, and sadly,
for the past
few months,
not lazy. rustic.
has been tardy.

in some respects its
fine. if you have a
potato salad that you've
been making all summer,
and you don't exactly get
around to posting the
recipe the first time it
shows up on your kitchen
table, but the second time
you think,
this really is good,
i should talk about it,
i think you've found
your loophole.

but otherwise,
i think you (ok, i) should post
in a reasonable amount of time.

especially, if the season is
changing and a bunch of
the recipes are on their way
to losing their relevancy.

and so, in the spirit of
sharing with you our
last bits of summer before
these ingredients completely
disappear and you become much
more interested in stews
than watermelon (for instance),
the next couple posts
will be a peek backward.

after, it will be a new slate
(or maybe we'll get
lucky with a few hot days
and some bumper crops
of summer veggies and fruits).

years ago (yes, this was the last
of the four recipes that i've
been wanting to make forever),
i saw a recipe in one of my cookbooks
for grape and marcona almond gazpacho.
very weird that i even stopped to look,
because i typically flip the page
fast when i see gazpacho
(unless it's this gazpacho) -
i think it has something to do with
all the chunks of peppers.
but, i stopped and read it
and decided that it sounded
delicious and unique and that
when summer came around,
i would have to make it.

of course,
it took years.
and, of course,
because i finally decided to make
a batch this summer,
i could not remember
which book it came from
in the first place.
i searched for a while
and finally gave up,
deciding to just go my usual route -
the internet.

in the end,
i took my favorite components
of several recipes that i found,
adding bread as one recipe indicated,
soaking it briefly like another said,
switching marcona almonds for the regular
and using cucumber to temper the sweetness.
by the time i was done,
adding garlic,
sherry vinegar,
it was my own.
cubed peasant bread
gazpacho ingredients in blender
(at first, i was resistant to
the cucumber, wanting a soup
that was purely grape and almonds,
but one sample spoonful made the
veggie's use clear - without it,
you could serve the soup with cookies
and drink it for dessert.)

i prepared the mixture one day ahead -
in about 15 minutes, perfect for a
hot day - and kept it in the blender
container until dinner the next night.
i'm glad i did - the mixture separated
a bit in the fridge and benefited
from the second whirl.
sliced green grapes
garnished with whole almonds
and slices of grapes, which i
absolutely loved - this soup
was the definition of summer.
just slightly sweat,
very light,
full of flavor
and delicious
without an oven.

you still have time
to make some of your own.
green grapes and marcona almonds
green grape and marcona almond gazpacho
this soup can be made at least one day ahead (possibly longer, but we didn't have leftovers to experiment with). the only part of this gazpacho that i wasn't in love with was the texture - the nuts never fully smoothed out. next time i would probably do one of two things: strain the mixture or only process it a bit so that the entire lot is still a bit chunky (more like a traditional gazpacho). also, a word of caution: this soup is so light, that some of your dining companions may not view this as a full meal...consider serving it as an appetizer, with a salad or alongside a creative sandwich.

3 ounces day old bread, crusts removed and cubed
1 cup water, at room temperature
1 english cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and chopped
2 cups grapes, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup marcona almonds (not oil-coated), plus more for garnish
4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

place bread in water; let sit a couple of minutes. squeeze bread to remove some of the moisture. transfer bread to blender. discard remaining water. add remaining ingredients to food processor. process just until combined. taste soup and adjust ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste. chill in container at least 2 hours, or overnight.

to serve: whirl again in blender, if necessary. divide soup among bowls; garnish with sliced grapes and marcona almonds.

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