8/14/11

White Gazpacho & Yogurt and Berry Mexican Ice Pops

Our version above.

Tartine's version below:

Sometimes—No—a lot of times in life, I fail to see the forest for the trees. This is especially true when it comes to following recipes. And actually, I think this is one of the reasons I was so drawn to cooking in the first place, because, with all of the specific steps—the precise measurements and directions inherent to most recipes—it’s practically encouraged to lose yourself amidst the perfect execution of details and forget the endgame entirely.

Well, this—let’s call it my natural predilection—really caused this white gazpacho to go from what could’ve been a simple summer soup into a messy, complicated afternoon in the kitchen. This particularly stung as I was having friends over for dinner and thought I had planned the perfect no-stress summer menu: white gazpacho, Pizzeria Mozza pizza delivered to the apartment, and paletas de yogurt con moras (yogurt and berry Mexican ice pops) that I had made the previous day.

Little did I know that I went off the no-stress path with the very first step to the gazpacho, which was to add almonds and garlic to a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Had I been thinking of the larger picture, the fact that I was going to be puréeing these almonds down to a soup with the consistency of heavy cream, I would have erred on the side of boiling longer than 2 minutes to ensure that the almonds had softened up enough for quality puréeing. Unfortunately, and without the guide of a kitchen timer, I placed the emphasis on making sure I didn’t go over 2 minutes.

Once I moved on to the puréeing step, the repercussions of this too-quick bath in boiling water made itself extremely known. In short, my purée equaled a grainy mixture the consistency of hummus that would barely and only after much effort and coaxing find its way through my strainer. What ensued was a solid hour of re-blending with more water and oil and then re-straining. Many times during this hour, I contemplated giving up the straining part altogether, but if you’ve ever had an almond smoothie that has left little almond bits on your tongue and you didn’t enjoy that aspect of the smoothie, you would agree that the mixture needed to be strained. In short, what I’m trying to tell you is: let those almonds boil for at least 2 minutes. They want to boil for longer than two minutes. So just let them.

After I recovered from this step (I recommend a hike or yoga session.), the rest, the red gazpacho garnish, was a breeze; and the combination of the soup and garnish, which you must serve ice cold, was brilliant—super refreshing, delicious, and beautiful.


The paletas, too, make quite a first impression. And as for their process, it couldn’t have been more opposite from the white gazpacho. The recipe called for “blackberries, or the berry of your choice.” So, in keeping with the white-and-red food theme of the night, we chose strawberries. Lies! We just had strawberries on hand.

I’m not sure what the weather’s like where you, dear readers, currently reside, but in Los Angeles, it’s still heating up (so much so that we’re back to using the blow-up mattress in the living / air-conditioned room). And September and October are typically hot and dry months for us here, so these paletas haven’t seen the last of me. As for the soup, I’d absolutely love some right now, but I may need some more time to heal before we face off again.
White Gazpacho adapted from Tartine Bread

for white gazpacho:
2 pounds raw almonds (skin off if you really want them white and don't want the hassle of having to take the skin off.)
2 cloves garlic
4 slices of 1/2 inch thick day-old bread
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice

for red gazpacho garnish:
2 cups cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper

To make the white gazpacho, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the almonds and garlic and cook for at least 2 minutes. Drain. If you want a pure white gazpacho, remove the skins from the almonds when they are cool enough to handle and trim the crusts from the bread. (Removing the skins from almonds can be particularly tedious. You may want to instead, as previously mentioned, buy almonds with the skins already off.)

Transfer half of the almonds and garlic to a blender. Add half of the bread and water, along with the salt. Blend on high speed until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add half of the oil and blend again. Pass the gazpacho through a strainer into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining almonds, garlic, bread, water, and oil. Stir in the vinegar and lemon juice. The gazpacho should have the consistency of heavy cream. Stir in more water if it is too thick. Season with salt if needed. Chill the soup in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.

To make the garnish, in a bowl, combine the tomatoes and cucumber. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon the cold white gazpacho into shallow bowls and top with a few spoonfuls of the red gazpacho.

For paletas recipe, click here!
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17 comments:

  1. So good! This will be a staple during next vegan challenge. xoxo

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  2. Oh man, I can REALLY REALLY relate to this one. Failing to see the forest for the trees while cooking with recipes.... Totally! I feel that I am FINALLY slightly getting over this problem and being more liberal in my recipe-following! Love this post!

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  3. Oh! Thanks so much for this post. It seriously looks like THE perfect summer meal! Beautiful pics too! I wonder if Pizzeria Mozza delivers to Kansas City.
    -Jess

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  4. Lies! That was my favorite part of your post. I thought it was funny.

    I want one of those paletas. We just gave our kitchen a makeover so I'm hoping I'll feel inspired to tackle something like paletas.
    xo

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  5. Sob. Mozza delivers? As if I needed another reason to move to LA. Also, your dinner party sounded awesome. What a great menu!

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  6. That soup looks AMAZING!! I've never seen anything like it. We're definitely going to make this next week as it's supposed to get hot again here. Thx for the recipe!

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  7. adore. one of my favorite things I've eaten this summer.

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  8. Beautiful, refreshing menu! Now that you've clued me in to how to best work with the almonds, I feel that I could actually make this gazpacho. Thanks for the recipe.

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  9. I'm not a white gazpacho fan, but ... when I was a culinary school student (here's my latest book: “Culinary School: How to Talk Like a Chef” - http://amzn.to/qGBGvc) one of the chefs insisted we eat with our eyes, first. That must be true because I'm dying to devour this - so lovely.

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  10. Ha ha - well, you clearly don't own a Blendtec!

    Though when I make almond milk, I generally soak the almonds overnight. Not sure how it would affect the taste, but you could do the same thing here if you were going for 'raw' or just wanted to safe yourself the trouble + speed up the cooling process.

    But thanks for the inspiration - I have a soft spot for white gazpacho, it being one of the few vegetarian dishes I came across in Spain's white towns... am making this *right now*! With the addition of green grapes, just to keep things traditional! x

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  11. I'm "bon appetempting" this soup this weekend. So excited to try this. Planning on making the pops with some raspberries from the garden too!
    RL

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  12. @Ms.Nožisková - hahaha I know, I thought of that as I kept blending away--that I bet those fancier blenders would have had no problem with my hard-as-rocks almonds!

    alsooo, yes! the original recipe called for grapes but it sounded too sweet to me so I left them out... hadn't realized that was the classic way of making it, so thanks!

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  13. your blog is so self-centered. why not do a national geograpatempt and look at the pictures in that mag and then try to help some people?

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  14. Well, this was good enough that *two year later* I have a specific request that it be on the menu at a swiftly-approaching special event! That's a pretty enduring and vivid taste memory! Thanks for the inspiration, as always! x

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