olive oil

The Best Gazpacho Ever!

by Anne Maxfield on August 29, 2016

Accidental Locavore Drinking GazpachoIf you’re in an area where it’s peak tomato season, you need to try this gazpacho recipe.

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.Accidental Locavore Gazpacho IngredientsBest 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

Accidental Locavore Straining GazpachoCombine the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender.

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!

Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Close UpMy 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.

And forget Christmas in July, I’m thinking about making a batch and freezing it, so it can be August in the middle of January!Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Gone

 

 

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Spiced, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

by Anne Maxfield on October 29, 2015

Accidental Locavore PumpkinsEver since the Accidental Locavore was a girl, I’ve loved roasted pumpkin seeds. Actually, to be perfectly honest, it’s anything salty and crunchy that gets my attention. Since a friend of mine was going to be doing a bunch of pumpkins for Halloween, I asked for and got all the pumpkin seeds, delivered straight from the pumpkin, slimy parts and all. Once you’ve cleaned the seeds, this is an easy recipe:

  • The seeds from 1 or more pumpkins (butternut squash works well too)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons Za’atar, Turkish spice blend, or any spice blend you like

Accidental Locavore Raw Pumpkin SeedsPreheat the oven to 325° degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper. Place the pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and fill with cool water. Agitate the seeds with your hand until the slimy pumpkin stuff starts to separate. It will sink to the bottom of the bowl. When the seeds are clean, scoop them up with a slotted spoon and spread them out to dry on a clean dish towel.

Accidental Locavore Spiced Pumpkin SeedsPat them dry and put in a bowl with the olive oil and salt. Toss to coat. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Stir and roast for another 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown and crunchy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with your choice of spices. Taste and add more spices and salt as needed. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Roasted Spiced Pumpkin SeedsMy verdict: I did two batches, one with a Turkish spice blend (cumin, peppercorns and Aleppo pepper) I found in the cabinet and one with a za’atar mix. They were both really good. The za’atar had the traditional sesame seeds in it, which were great with the pumpkin seeds. The Turkish blend was a little spicier and also really good. I let my seeds dry overnight so they would be good and crunchy. If you can use a dish towel for them to dry on, it works better than paper towels, which tend to stick to the seeds. I also saved and froze in one-cup packs a couple of bags for future projects (like pumpkin seed brittle), so stay tuned.

 

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Roasted and Crispy Chickpeas

by Anne Maxfield on June 24, 2015

Accidental Locavore Roasted ChickpeasIn an ongoing search for healthier snacks (i.e. not chips), the Accidental Locavore recently came across a bunch of recipes for roasted chickpeas. These, from the NY Times, are super easy, and probably pretty heathy, but you do need some time to let them dry before you roast them. Makes a good-sized bowl to snack from.

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if canned
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Accidental Locavore Drying ChickpeasSpread out chickpeas on a paper towel. Pat dry, then let dry for about an hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a heavy rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper, and spread chickpeas evenly on the pan. Bake in the center of the oven until crunchy, about 30 minutes, stirring and rotating every 10 minutes. (The chickpeas will continue to get crunchy as they cool.)

Accidental Locavore Chickpeas With Za'atarPlace hot chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, za’atar and salt. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: A surprisingly flawed recipe from the “paper of record”. A few of my chickpeas were actually crunchy, most were just sort of tough. With both these and the crunchy mushrooms, I used the convection setting on my oven because I figured it would add to the crunch. Now I’m not so sure. Anyone have any ideas? I did let them dry for most of the morning, so it wasn’t that. The za’atar is an interesting blend of spices and would probably be great on warm chickpeas or on a chickpea salad. If I tried these again, I would first toss them in the oil and za’atar and then roast them. That way, although they wouldn’t be as healthy, they might have a better chance of being crunchy and the za’atar wouldn’t all fall to the bottom of the bowl. Have you made crispy chickpeas? How did you do them?

 

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Accidental Locavore Wine GlassesOne of the highlights of the Accidental Locavore’s recent trip to Croatia was the chance to learn about a whole new (to me) country’s wines. In just the section we were in, Istria, there are over 130 wineries. Most of them produce a version of Malvazija , the local white wine, but some of them are branching out and planting all sorts of grape varieties.

Accidental Locavore San Tommaso WinesOn a typical day we would have at least one tasting, usually of four or five wines, lunch with at least three wines, dinner with three or four, not to mention welcome toasts, aperitifs or after dinner drinks of grappa, slivovitz, hugos, etc, etc. It’s not a hard-drinking country, just a culture that’s welcoming and proud of its viniculture. Sadly, most of it isn’t imported to the US yet, so we had to drink it there.

But, if I stop to add up all the glasses, and not even individually, but as types, the numbers are a bit staggering (even though none of us were).

Day 1: Welcome toast at La Puntulina for dinner, Malvazija with dinner. Total 2-just a warm up.

Accidental Locavore Spanish FlyDay 2: Tasting after foraging for wild asparagus at San Tommaso of their Malvazija/Chardonnay blend, a Merlot, and with the asparagus risotto, a Teran. Accidental Locavore Bruno and GrappaBrandy or slivovitz with Boris after touring the Aromatica (and seeing his large apothecary jar of Spanish fly). Accidental Locavore Trappan BarrelTasting at Trapan of sparkling rosé, followed by a rosé, two Malvazijas, and two reds (one of them named Nigra Virgo-black virgin). Dinner at Milan with a sparkling white, another Malvazija. Total 12.

Accidental Locavore Grappa BreakfastDay 3: Welcome grappa toast (your choice from three) and Malvazija for breakfast before the truffle hunt, Sparkling rosé, Malvazija and Porco Rossa at Toklarija for lunch. Olive oil tasting at Ipša that turned into a chance to try their new Malvazija. Accidental Locavore the View From KoslovicTasting at Kozlovic of two whites, a rosé and their Teran . Another grappa toast at Stari Podrum at dinner and your choice of red or white (or both). Total 12-13.

Accidental Locavore HugosDay 4: A couple of Hugos (going to be my go-to summer drink!) at Vitriol cafe on the beach. Grappa toast and a lot of Malvazija at lunch at Čok. Accidental Locavore Tasting at DeGrassiEight (4 white 4 red) at Degrassi tasting and finally five more; sparkling, two whites, a red and a dessert wine at dinner. After dinner drinks were turned down–no idea why. Total 16–finish strong!

Accidental Locavore Grappa at LunchRough count of 42-OMG! Stay tuned for a report on what I liked and loved, and what I wish were available in the US.

 

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