Soups

I don’t know what it is about Ramadan, but fasting makes me think about food. My last entry was about bread. What goes well with bread? Soups, of course! Toast up a little bread and dip it in hot soup, like little croutons. Mm mmm. Some soups even begin with stale leftover bread. Like this Gazpacho Andaluz.

[[image:soup10.jpg:Gazpacho Andaluz:center:0]]

I’ve had Gazpacho before, but usually it’s chopped tomatoes and other veggies in it (sort of like a mediterranean bubur ca ca without the bubur). But when we were in Jaen, at Alfonso’s El Bar Dalas, I had my first taste of the Andalucian Gazpacho. It’s a smoothly pureed raw vegetable soup, and if served as a tapa, it was served in a chilled wineglass. It was smooth going down and even though I hate tomatoes, I loved this gazpacho.

I wasted no time in finding a recipe for it when I got home, and here is how you make Gazpacho Andaluz.

First soak stale bread in a bowl of water for 4-5 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess water and place in a food processor with a big clove of garlic (or two).

[[image:soup06.jpg:Bread and Garlic:center:0]]

[[image:soup07.jpg:Bread and Garlic in this year’s birthday present from Vin:center:0]]

Give it a spin until it turns into a lovely paste:

[[image:soup08.jpg:Bread and garlic paste:center:0]]

Then get some good tomatoes, halve and seed the tomatoes (otherwise the soup may get a bit wet).

[[image:soup09.jpg:Tomatoes:center:0]]

Puree everything until beautifully smooth. Add salt and white wine vinegar and puree some more. Then while the machine is going, pour in 1/3 cup of gorgeous extra virgin olive oil (don’t be stingy, use the good stuff for this) and the mixture turns a beautiful pink color. If it is too thick, thin out with cold water (while the machine is going) up to 1 cup, to the consistency you like. Chill, and then serve. In Jaen, they served it as an appetizer with chopped bread, cucumber, onions, hard boiled eggs, etc. At home I served it with chopped onions, cucumber and avocado:

[[image:soup11.jpg:Big bowl of soup with garnish:center:0]]

Another soup I tried my hand at was Potato Leek Soup. Start off by sauteeing cured beef bacon in olive oil, then saute a bunch of chopped leeks until soft. Add 6 cups of vegetable stock, a bunch of herbs, and diced potatoes. Cook until the potato is soft.

[[image:soup01.jpg:Leeks and potatos bubbling away:center:0]]

Take an immersion blender and go to town:

[[image:soup02.jpg:blend until smooth:center:0]]

Add a dash of heavy whipping cream:

[[image:soup03.jpg:Heavy Cream:center:0]]

Stir it in and the soup turns a beautiful light green.

[[image:soup04.jpg:Potato Leek Soup:center:0]]

Serve hot, with toasted bread on the side.

[[image:soup05.jpg:Finished Potato Leek Soup:center:0]]

Luckily, buka puasa is in less than 3 hours. Woohoooo!

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