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.
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).
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:
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!