Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Cooking Attempts: Avocado Gazpacho

I continue in my attempts to eat healthy, at least before I go to Maui. After that I make no such promises! Tonight's dinner was Creamy Green Gazpacho from Eat your vegetables: bold recipes for the single cook by Joe Yonan.

The recipe is meant for a single person so I quadrupled the recipe. Hey (say that like Si does in Duck Dynasty) I refuse to go through all that effort for it to be over in one sitting! I am always looking for ways to maximize my time, so I make one big pot that will last me for a couple of days. As long as the food is delicious David doesn't mind eating it two nights in a row. So I always try me damnedest to make a scrumpdillyicious dinner. This Creamy Green Gazpacho was truly scrumpdillyicious!

1 medium tomato, cored and cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 avocado, cut into large chunks
3 large basil leaves
1/2 jalapeno (optional)
3/4 cup lightly packed watercress or baby spinach  leaves
1 small celery stalk (optional)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon honey
2 ice cubes
Filtered water (optional)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon  extra-virgin olive oil

What I changed
I didn't change much in this recipe. I obviously quadrupled the recipe. I did use a little less jalapeno and used all the optional ingredients, except for the water. I skipped the, as Rachael Ray says, EVOO. This has more to do with the fact that I forgot the EVOO, as opposed to purposely excluding it. Sorry EVOO!

Ready? Here is how I put it all together:

I learned my lesson from my last cooking adventure and I tried to be more organized about my cooking. I first collected all my ingredients. I'm so proud of myself!

I then went about peeling, chopping, and coring all my veggies, as called for in the recipe. Hey (again in Si's voice) I don't know if this is just a Mexican thing, but whenever I peel and chop a cucumber I first cut off the ends and then rub them against the cut part of the cucumber. In this photo I should be rubbing those two parts together. Clearly I need someone to hold the camera so I can take action shots. Meanwhile you get to use your imagination. Just don't go too crazy!

Do you perform this cucumber ritual? Most Mexican families do. That's what my abuela and mom taught me. It's suppose to remove the bitterness from the cucumber.
After chopping and setting everything up for easy access I set aside some cucumber, basil, tomato, jalapeno, and avocado to top the gazpacho when I serve dinner. Just a little not too much. The recipe calls for setting aside one quarter of the tomato, two cucumber chunks, two avocado chunks, and one basil leaf ( x4 if you quadrupled the recipe like I did).

Now I am ready to blend. I tried to strategically place my ingredients into the blender. I put all the honey, ice, and balsamic in first. I then layered in the tomato and spinach and blended. As more room becomes available in the blender I layer in more veggies (without removing the liquid already in the blender). I want to make the most of the juicy veggies. If I put the spinach in by itself I would have a hard time blending it since it's dry.

I then poured it into a pot and seasoned it aggressively. It really needed salt, a little extra balsamic vinegar, and pepper. Refrigerate until cold, then pour into a bowl and top with reserved veggies (tomato, cucumber, basil, and avocado).

This was healthy, fresh and yummy. It has a slight sweetness to it, thanks to the honey, yet it's pleasantly spicy and fresh. I've tried other avocado soups before and this is the best one yet. Despite being super healthy it was still very filling. If you'd like you can add a little feta or goat cheese for an extra layer of flavor. A side of French bread would complete the meal.

Lessons Learned
  • Don't be a chile scaredy cat, add more jalapeno. The recipe originally called for half a jalapeno and even though I made 4x the recipe I still only added one jalapeno. Self-proclaimed chile scaredy cat here! I regretted it. I think a little extra heat would have been lovely against the sweetness of the honey.
  • Don't cut the avocado you will be using to top the soup until you are ready to eat. There is nothing worse than a browned avocado. Sure you can add a little lemon or lime juice to hold it over, but it's still better to wait and enjoy it fresh. 
Hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as my husband and I did!

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