If I invited you to dinner and told you we were having cold soup, you’d probably think I had lost my mind. But if the cold soup was Gazpacho, you’d be quite happy, indeed. This Andalusian transplant is the consumate summer soup. Garden fresh vegetables are blended into a chunky soup that is hearty yet light, satisfying enough to fill you up, but light enough so you have room for dessert.
Traditionally this is made with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, but fruits and other vegetables can be included. Gazpacho can be chunky enough to eat with a spoon or smooth enough to drink as a remarkable Bloody Mary mixer.We had these at Mercat a la Planxa, a Spanish restaurant that has one of the most impressive Bloody Mary Bars I’ve ever seen. This is about my gazpacho, so if you want to learn more about the restaurant click here.
My gazpacho included the above mentioned ingredients along with some grilled corn. I used vegetable juice to keep things moving as well as sherry vinegar for a little tang.This is one of those dishes that I make differently every time. It’s usually based on what’s in season and what looks the most beautiful. Sometime I give it some spice with jalapenos and a plethora of peppers. Other times it’s a cucumber extravaganza. It all depends…
This recipe is a guideline that includes the techniques needed to make gazpacho. As I always say, make it you own. Add or subtract at your whim. Fruit gazpacho is quite tasty, so feel free to go there. Don’t let the summer go by without trying this recipe.
Peel the cucumber and chop into pieces about 1 inch.
Quarter the tomatoes. Core and seed them and chop into pieces about the same size as the cucumber. Put both in a large bowl.
Chop the onion into one inch chunks. Do the same with the bell pepper. Add them to the bowl.
Roughly chop the garlic, parsley, and cilantro and toss them in with the other vegetables. Mix everything together.
Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and set aside
Place a manageable amount of the vegetable mixture into the processor bowl. Add some of the vegetable juice and process until the mixture is slightly chunky. ( make this as smooth or chunky as you like) Put the processed vegetables back in the bowl.
Continue to process the vegetables with the vegetable juice until they are all the consistency you want. Add the corn to the bowl of vegetables and stir to mix everything well.
Add the juice of the lemon half, the vinegar, paprika, and cumin. Stir well and taste for seasoning. Add a little salt and any more of the flavorings that you want.
Cover and chill for several hours. Serve in soup bowls or goblets and garnish with cilantro or whatever you would like.
This is a delicious way to use the Pulled Chicken recipe that I shared in my last post. The homemade fries are actually not fried. They are baked in the oven on a rack to help them turn out as crisp as their fried brothers. Season the potatoes as you like them. Cajun or Blackening seasonings would be good, but use what you love.
I chose toppings that are a little reminiscent of a loaded baked potato, but other possibilities are limitless. You could even use the cheese curds that the original recipe from Quebec uses. Topping French Fries with anything makes them even better. This makes a great supper for two. Add a salad or a nice vinegar based coleslaw.
Wash the potatoes well and dry them off. Do not peel unless that's what you really like. Slice into french fry shapes. Aim for fries that are about 3/4 inch diameter and if your potatoes are longer than wider they will look prettier.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Soak the potatoes in very cold water for 30 minutes or so. This gets rid of a little of the starch. Drain and DRY VERY WELL.
Put the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Add the potato seasonings you have chosen and toss again.
Line a large baking sheet with foil. Place a size compatible wire rack on the baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil non-stick spray. Place the potatoes on the rack making sure they are not touching.
Bake in oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Turn the potatoes halfway through the baking.The potatoes should be golden brown and lightly crisp. Remove from oven and divide between two plates.
While the potatoes are baking, heat the Pulled Chicken on the stove or in the microwave. Have all of your toppings ready.
Top the potatoes with the Pulled Chicken and the toppings of your choice and serve.
A chicken version of the pork classic. It cooks in a Slow Cooker in five hours or less. resulting in a beautiful mound of succulent chicken that is perfect in a sandwich, a quesadilla, even all by itself. Make it as spicy as you’d like it by adding any chili powder or spice that tickles your fancy.
For a change of pace, try Mama D’s Poutine recipe below. It’s Carolina meets Canada in a really tasty way.
Trim chicken thighs of as much visible fat as possible. Layer in a 5 - 6 quart Slow Cooker coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray, placing the onions and garlic in between the layers.
Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Pour over the chicken, onion, and garlic. Move things around so that the chicken is evenly covered with the sauce.
Cook on the low heat setting for 4 - 5 hours. The chicken should be very tender and just starting to fall apart. Remove the chicken to a heat resistant cutting board. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Using two forks, shred the chicken into uniform pieces. Return the chicken and any accumulated juice to the slow cooker. Raise heat to high and tilt the cover slightly. Cook an additional 20 - 30 minutes,until the sauce has thicken slightly and everything is hot.
Serve the Pulled Chicken in sandwiches, tacos, or quesadillas. It's also great sitting atop rice, pasta or corn bread. You can even eat it all by itself.
Mama D's Poutine: Top oven baked french fries with Pulled Chicken. Garnish with any or all of the following: Shredded cheddar cheese, blue cheese crumbles, bacon bits, sliced green onions, ranch dressing.