It’s become our go-to gazpacho, it’s so good!
After the Accidental Locavore read the description of this gazpacho in the NY Times and remembered how good it was when Chef Jose Garces made it at his house a couple of years ago, I needed to give it a try.Use the best tomatoes and olive oil you can.Best Gazpacho recipe:
- 2 pounds of red tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 Italian or Anaheim pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- Part of a Serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced (optional, if you like a little heat)
- 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
- ¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Blend at high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt, taste and add the Serrano chile if you’re using.
The next part you might want to do in batches unless you have a big blender.
Very slowly pour in the olive oil, so the gazpacho can emulsify. It will thicken and change color, becoming more orange.
If it seems thin, keep slowly pouring in the olive oil and it will thicken up. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and oil as needed.
Strain and discard the solids.
Pour into a pitcher and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil on the top and enjoy!
My verdict: Fabulous! It took a few minutes, but the color did change and the texture and taste was perfect. You really need a blender for this – sadly, a food processor won’t give you a fine enough puree.
I didn’t have the right kind of peppers, so I seeded and chopped a couple of pepperoncini, and they worked fine.
My friend Jean is working for a local olive oil importer and for the oil I used their Delavignes Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which has a lovely buttery flavor. Since you really taste the oil, be sure to use something delicious. If you wanted, a shot of vodka might be interesting.
The original recipe suggests pouring the gazpacho over ice, which I think is a good idea; even though ours had chilled all afternoon, it never tasted really cold.
After the disappointing batch of roasted broccoli soup, the Accidental Locavore was on a quest to find a better recipe. This one from the New York Times definitely fit the bill with broccoli and potatoes. And you think you’re being healthy, no milk or cream, but there is a good bit of butter and oil. Serves 4-6.
- ½ cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 heads broccoli (about 2 pounds), separated into small florets
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt, more to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoons black pepper, more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ pound potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste
- Grated Parmesan, to finish
In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Add about a third of the broccoli, just enough so that it covers the bottom of the pan in a single layer without overcrowding. Cook broccoli without moving it for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until dark brown on 1 side only (leave the other side bright green). Transfer to a big bowl and repeat with more oil and the remaining broccoli. When all the broccoli has been browned, season with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to pan. Add onions and garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add potato to the pot with 1 quart water and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, cover pot and cook until potato is just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add broccoli, cover again and cook until tender, another 5 to 10 minutes.
Add lemon zest and purée soup with an immersion or regular blender, to your desired texture. Stir in lemon juice. Finish with grated Parmesan, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Oh so much better than the roasted broccoli soup, that I couldn’t stop tasting it! I ended up running it through a blender because I was afraid the stick blender would leave soup all over the kitchen. I wish I’d kept a few small pieces of broccoli aside to give it a little more texture, but that’s a small thing. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you might want to taste it before you (cautiously) add the red pepper flakes. Mine were pretty fresh and gave it a nice kick, but I probably added more that ¼ teaspoon to the pot. I’ve made it a couple of times and it’s definitely a keeper!
When the Accidental Locavore saw this recipe, it looked like a no-brainer and then when my cousin offered me the pumpkin seeds (they’re the garnish) from her Halloween effort, it became a must-try. This made about a quart of soup. The list looks long, but half of it is for the pumpkin seeds which can be made in advance.
For the soup:
- 2 pounds broccoli, stalks cut into ½” slices and quartered, and heads cut into florets
- 10 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, run through a garlic press
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Preheat oven to 375°. Spread the broccoli on a large baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast until broccoli is tender and browned, about 25 minutes.
In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the coriander and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add roasted broccoli, buttermilk, and just enough stock to barely cover vegetables. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Working in batches if necessary, transfer vegetables and liquid to a blender. Blend broccoli until a smooth puree forms (be careful and don’t over-fill the blender). Slowly add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil while blender is running. Return the soup to the pot and add as much of the remaining stock as necessary to thin to your desired consistency. Season with salt to taste. Serve with pumpkin seed garnish and enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a mixing bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons olive oil, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds and turmeric. Season with salt. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Taste and add more salt to taste.
My verdict: There are things that work and things that don’t. In this case, the pumpkin seeds are definitely worth doing (although I added a lot more salt than the recipe called for), and make a great snack! Any kind of winter squash seeds will work as well. The soup on the other hand was a big disappointment. Even with multiple blending, it still had little tough bits of broccoli – probably from the stems – that were annoying. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a big broccoli taste either. I would have thought that roasting it would have given it a lot of flavor. Frank thought there was too much oil in it and I thought it badly needed seasoning, but even salt, cumin and lemon zest didn’t go far enough.
After the first round of sandwiches, the Accidental Locavore is always looking for interesting uses for turkey leftovers. Since there was an early influx of leftovers from making gravy with a bunch of wings, I shredded the meat and used it for a (not-very-authentic) version of chili. This was pretty free-form, so use it as a starting point (and don’t let all the ingredients scare you, I just used what was in the house). Made about 3 big bowls.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 poblano chile, diced
- 1 serrano chile, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ancho chile
- 1 chipotle chile
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup dark beer (Guinness)
- 1 small can tomatoes (14 oz)
- 1 ½ cups shredded turkey
- 1 small can kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder or 1 tablespoon grated unsweetened chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano (Mexican if you have it)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped cilantro and grated cheddar for garnish
In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, poblano, serrano chile and garlic and stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Remove the cover and sauté until they are well caramelized and reduced by about ½.
While the onions are cooking, briefly toast the ancho and chipotle chiles in a small fry pan over medium heat, about a minute on each side. Remove from heat and rehydrate in a small bowl of boiling water for 20 minutes. Slice into 1/8” strips.
Add the chile powder, cumin and coriander to the onion mix and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Cook for about 5 minutes until the alcohol has cooked out.
Add the tomatoes (breaking them up if you use whole tomatoes), turkey, beans, brown sugar, chocolate and oregano. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Bring to a boil, then to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and grated cheddar and enjoy!
My verdict: Not at all authentic, but tasted great and satisfied my craving for chili! As I said in the introduction, this looks like a lot of ingredients, but it was all stuff I had in the house, so I just tossed it in. I think it was a little sweet with the brown sugar, so I added about a tablespoon of cider vinegar to cut some of the sweetness. The chocolate and beer add a nice depth of flavor, but, again, you can leave them out—although I’d probably add a little chicken broth to replace the beer.
After a few wonderful bowls of soup at this year’s Soup-a-Bowl (the annual benefit for the Poughkeepsie Farm Project), the Accidental Locavore’s husband was heard muttering about how he’d like some of that potato leek soup with the roasted garlic. And when he came back from the farm with leeks and potatoes, I knew he was serious! This is mostly from a recipe of Ina Garten’s I found. Serves 6.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise and then in ½” slices
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
- 6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces crème fraîche
- 1-2 heads roasted garlic (see below)
Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times, until very tender and lightly golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any roasted bits sticking to the pan.
In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock in batches and purée. As you finish a batch, pour it into a large pot or Dutch oven. When it’s all in the pot, add the remaining 1- 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, crème fraîche, and salt and pepper as needed. Heat over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: I’ve never made vichyssoise with crème fraîche before and if there wasn’t some in the fridge, I probably wouldn’t have used it this time either – which would have been a big mistake! It gave this very rich soup a nice depth of flavor that’s sometimes missing. Roasting the potatoes and leeks was a great idea and the next time I do it, I’d just toss some garlic cloves in the mix. If you were doing this in the summer and didn’t want to heat up your oven, grilling them would most likely be great! If you like a finer purée, use a blender, for a chunkier version the food processor is fine.
In preparation for this I roasted 4 heads of garlic separately (cut 1/2″ off the tops, put in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle a little olive oil, cover with foil and roast at 400 degrees for an hour), not knowing how many I’d need (about 1 1/2 heads) to flavor but not overwhelm the leeks. Frank was wondering about adding bacon which would be fine, but not necessary – maybe as a garnish? This is great hot or cold, so depending on the season…
While it may not seem possible to have too many tomatoes, there are times (like now) when you might be facing a pile of very ripe tomatoes that would be a shame to waste. The Accidental Locavore ended up with five pounds from the CSA this week and knew there were a few more than I could (or should) comfortably use for salads. This being August, recipes for gazpacho are a dime a dozen, from Mark Bittman’s spread for the Times to an interesting one from Food & Wine that my friend Mary adapted for her blog. But gazpacho, like its summer cousin, pesto, really doesn’t need a recipe. It does need a blender or food processor and some great tomatoes (although there’s a hack for that too – see below). This is what I tossed together this morning:
- 2 pounds tomatoes, cut into big chunks
- 1 garlic clove (size depending on your love for garlic)
- 2 slices of bread
- ½ cucumber peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ jalapeno, seeded
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt & pepper
Put the tomatoes, garlic, cucumber and jalapeno in the food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add the bread, olive oil and vinegar. Process until it’s just shy of your desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Process to your desired consistency and chill for at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and top with your favorite garnishes, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: I always loved the gazpacho at City Bakery, mostly because you could mix in a whole host of garnishes: cilantro, croutons, chopped tomatillos, etc. It also allowed you to control the consistency, making it as smooth (fewer garnishes) or as chunky as you like. When you make it yourself, you can do that with or without the toppings. If you use a blender, you will get a finer blend; with the food processor it will always have a little more texture. I’m not a fan of green peppers, so I leave them out and really only added the jalapeno because it was left over from a batch of salsa (that may garnish the soup). Other great garnishes or add-ins could be avocado, bacon, some toasted pine nuts.
The hack for not-so-good tomatoes, I learned from Carla Hall. If you have pallid tomatoes, use more of whatever you have that’s tastier. So, if you have some good peppers or a nice cucumber, add more of them and just adjust the taste to suit yourself.
The Accidental Locavore saw this recipe on Food 52 recently and happened to have a nice bunch of broccoli on hand so this became lunch. You need a little over an hour to make this but most of it is for cooking the broccoli. Serves 4 to 6
- 2 pounds broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3/4 cups grated Parmesan
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Croutons (optional) for garnishing
In a covered microwave-safe dish, steam the broccoli in the microwave for 3 minutes.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic. After a minute or two, when the garlic starts to soften and turn golden, add the broccoli, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Cover the pot, turn the heat down as low as it will go, and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is soft enough that it yields when you press it with the back of a wooden spoon (it may brown a little during this process — this is a good thing).
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes.
My verdict: Delicious! Everyone really liked this soup. It was a nice change from the usual thick, gloppy broccoli and cheese soup. Fresh and light tasting. My only regret with it was that I didn’t have much broccoli (and we were in the middle of yet another blizzard) so only made half the recipe, which was gone in a heartbeat. Maybe because I wasn’t cooking so much broccoli, mine was nice and soft in 30 minutes. If you want a vegetarian version, just use vegetable broth in place of the chicken stock. This would probably work with zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli rabe, etc. I did pop a few croutons in which gave it a nice crunch. Toasted pine nuts would also be a nice garnish. I’ve already gone out and gotten more broccoli to make another batch!
Looking for a warm and comforting bowl of soup for a cold day? After all this snow, the Accidental Locavore definitely was! Here’s a recipe for a great creamy corn chowder put together in less than 45 minutes, with corn I froze from the overload this summer and my own bacon. Serves 4.
- 4 strips bacon cut into 1/2″ lardons (strips)
- 2 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears of corn if you have fresh)
- 2 tablespoons butter (could be less if your bacon renders a lot of fat)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups milk
- 2-3 medium new potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small jalapeno pepper (optional), seeded and finely diced
Heat the bacon in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish, leaving the rest of it (and the rendered fat) in the pot. Add the butter, thyme, garlic, onions, and bay leaf. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat, until the onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Add the corn, milk (jalapenos, if using) and potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to low. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf. Partially puree the chowder either with an immersion (stick) blender, or by taking about a cup of the chowder and pureeing it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add it back to the rest of the soup, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the bacon garnish, and enjoy.
My verdict: Since I decided at the last minute that this was what I needed for lunch, both the corn and jalapeno were frozen. Instead of dicing the jalapeno, I just dumped it in whole and removed it before pureeing the soup. It wasn’t spicy enough for my taste, so the whole thing went in the blender (and now it’s probably a little too spicy). I’ve made a vegetarian version of this, substituting a small chipotle in adobo and some of it’s sauce for the bacon (leave out the jalapeno unless you like it super-hot). If you’re clever enough to save corn cobs, cut them in half and toss them in, it adds flavor to the stock. I also added a piece of smoked pork rind that I had from making the bacon just to add some more flavor (and removed it before pureeing).
As you know the Accidental Locavore is a fan of celery root and it was widely available this fall at my CSA. I found this recipe for Creamy Celery Root Soup on the Food Republic website and wanted to give it a shot. I stayed pretty true to their recipe, which makes a big pot of soup.
- 2 large celery roots, peeled and cut into ½”cubes
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 2 large cloves, garlic, chopped
- 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Preheat oven to 375°. Toss celery root with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl until coated, then arrange in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until completely soft, golden-brown and caramelized (this can be done ahead of time).
Heat the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot, over medium heat, then sauté the onions and garlic until translucent and just starting to color, 8-10 minutes. Add the roasted celery root, stir well to combine and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the stock and wine to the pot, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, then transfer to a blender and purée in batches (or use an immersion blender). Return soup to pot over low heat and stir in cream. Heat until soup is warmed through. Serve garnished with the toasted pine nuts and enjoy.
My verdict: Although not difficult, this seemed like a lot of work. Maybe it was just that I wasn’t thrilled with the results and found myself alone in the kitchen with a pile of large pans to wash. I ended up simmering it for about another 10-15 minutes to reduce it a little further as mine was rather thin. Still looking for more flavor I added a little cumin (maybe ½ teaspoon) to it at the end and tossed some croutons in my bowl. What’s good about this recipe is that it could be adopted for any roasted vegetable and, as I did, you can easily roast the veggies ahead of time. The next time I make this (or some version thereof), I would definitely add some garlic to the roasting pan and puree it in with the soup. Since I have an immersion blender, I skipped the cooling step and just pureed it in the soup pot (definitely not recommended if you’re using a non-stick pot). The roasted celery root, on it’s own, was really good, so remember that for a side dish!
Maybe you’ve wondered how someone could be an Accidental Locavore and not have pages and pages of recipes for winter squash. It’s pretty simple. While an occasional serving of squash is fine for the most part, it’s around way too long (seasonally) and not terribly interesting. An occasional bowl of soup or a simple roasted preparation and I’m good until the asparagus comes up. But since it wouldn’t be fall without a bowl of soup, here’s the one winter squash recipe I come back to time after time. Serves 8 and the hardest part is peeling the squash. Since you’re going to be pureeing it at the end, chopping skills aren’t critical here.
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 5 ½ cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock if you’re vegetarian)
- 8 cups winter squash (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1″ pieces (feel free to mix and match your squash-acorn and butternut work well, and/or substitute pumpkin)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 24 1/4″ thick slices from a baguette
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, squash, thyme and sage, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree soup in blender, food processor or with a stick blender (use a deep pot) in batches. Return soup to pot. Stir in cream and sugar, bring to a simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
For the garnish: Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each slice of bread. Arrange bread, buttered side up on a baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle with cheese, thyme and sage, salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute.
Ladle soup into bowls, top with croutons, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Most squash dishes are too sweet for me. The croutons save this from being overly sweet. If I’m feeling lazy, I just toss some store-bought croutons in the soup and sprinkle some grated cheese over it. You can also do a couple of bread slices at a time in a toaster oven. Generally I use Gruyere, but a pepper jack or even some crumbled blue cheese would be fun. I’ve also been known to add a dash of Sriracha or harissa into the pot to give the soup a little kick.