Monday, May 23, 2005

Spanish Gazpacho

This cold Spanish tomato soup is so refreshing in the summer! It takes 5 minutes to prepare, at least 1 hour in advance.


Vegetables:
  • 1 big can (28 oz.) of unsalted whole peeled Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 slice of white bread (I know... it's not a vegetable!)

Spices:

  • 1 table spoon of Jerez (or Xeres) vinegar (it's a Spanish sherry vinegar) -you could use balsamic vinegar alternatively but it's worth trying to find Jerez.
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon (or 1 table spoon of ready-to-use lemon juice)
  • 3 table spoons of very good olive oil (you know... extra virgin, first pressed cold, from Southern Europe -Spain, Italy, Greece, France)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tea spoon of ground Cayenne pepper if you want to spice it up.

The final touch:

  • a few croutons

Now you just need to blend everything and serve it extra cold:

  1. Remove the seeds from the green pepper.
  2. Peel the English cucumber (you don't need to remove the seeds: everything is good in this type of cucumbers).
  3. Peel the onion and garlic clove, remove the germ in the center of the garlic clove.
  4. Coarsely cut everything in cubes or slices.
  5. Put the veggies in a blender bowl, pour the whole can of tomatoes (with the juice) and blend as finely as possible.
  6. Add the spices, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and blend again until smooth.
  7. Store the gazpacho in the freezer for about one hour (or in the fridge, at least 3 hours). Some people serve it with blended ice in it but it makes the gazpacho too watery to my taste... I'd rather wait until it's cold without adding ice.
  8. Pour the soup in individual bowls, sprinkle a few croutons on top and serve right away.

Voila !

Picture added on June 24, 2006.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Home made fresh cheese



We just found out how to make fresh cheese at home. It only takes a few minutes and it's soooo good!




All you need is:
  • 1 liter of pasteurized milk (a little more than 4 cups). You want the milk to be a little fat.
  • 5 to 10 centiliters of white wine vinegar or lemon juice (about 2 oz.)
  • 1 table spoon of rock salt
  • Optionally: finely chopped fresh herbs (e.g. chives) and/or garlic (about 1 table spoon total).

The process is amazingly easy:

  1. Slowly bring the milk to a boil, wait a few seconds then turn off the heat.
  2. Add the vinegar (or lemon) and salt and stir well. You'll see the milk turning almost instantly into a white, grainy paste (the curd) and a pale yellow, limpid liquid (the whey).
  3. Add the fresh herbs and garlic and stir some more.
  4. Let the coagulation be complete (let stand for 5 minutes).
  5. Filter the curd through a colander lined with a cheese cloth. Let it drain for about 5 minutes. You can keep the whey if you have a use for it... which we don't at the moment although we're sure there's one ;-)
  6. Press the curd in the cheese cloth and shape it into a ball.
  7. It's ready to eat! Or you can keep it a few more days... As you wish.

The good thing is, since it's pasteurized milk AND you boil it AND you eat the cheese fresh, it's like eating cereals: no risk of nasty bacterias :-)

This recipe works with all kinds of milks (for example goat milk) and all kinds of herbs.

There are more info and pictures here.