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Posts Tagged ‘Gazpacho’

Today was a very Super Sunday!  First of all it was hot and sunny and a perfect beach day.  A sunny Sunday at the Shore is hard to beat.  Then there’s the soup;  This morning I got up early and made Gazpacho.  It’s the quintessential summer soup and a great Sunday night supper.  I love this recipe and so I made a huge batch, some for our dinner tonight and some for the freezer.  And since I think she’s reading the blog, I also put a small container of Gazpacho aside for Elinor.  If you would like the recipe for this Gazpacho, please see this prior post:  : https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/gazpacho-or-th…ersey-tomatoes

After an afternoon of wave surfing, well actually it was more like trying not to get swamped by the rolling waves, we went home, showered and had a quick cocktail.  The best was yet to come…. Tonight promised us the biggest moon of the year.  The sky had been clear all day and so we planned on heading back to the boardwalk at the time the moon was expected to rise.  I’ve been wanting to watch a moon rise for the last couple of weeks.  Tonight had all of the aspects for the perfect moon rising, the time was good for us and of all the moons, this one was going to BIG, BIG, BIG!

We enjoyed sitting on the boardwalk which happened to be heavily populated as a whole bunch of people were sitting and standing around waiting for this spectacular site.  Everybody was talking about the Super Moon.  While we waited, the sun, no slouch in the spectacular department went down in a blaze of glory.

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

The moon rise web site said the moon would rise in the ESE direction and about 7:43pm.  I kept scanning the horizon looking for that thin red line to appear on top of the water in the distance.  Sometimes you can’t see what you’re looking for because what you’re looking for is a bit obscured and appears not as expected.  The red rim of the rising moon never graced the horizon BUT then about 8pm, there it was!  NOT on the horizon but rather quite a bit above the water line and not looking very red orange – it was a big fat round white ghost in the sky!  I guess the sky was not quite as clear as we thought, the cloud cover obscured the rising moon until it was a ways above the water.

The Ghost of a Moon

The Ghost of a Moon

As it rose higher and the atmosphere cleared, the moon not only got bigger, it got orange too!  It was quite the sight, that blushing man in the moon smiling down on us.  It loomed larger and brighter and it was like being in a planetarium because the moon hung there in the sky right in front of us and it felt like we were watching this phenomena in 3-D.

Big Red

Big Red

We called it a Super Moon, but it has had many other names over the years.  It’s a Mega-moon, a perigee moon.  Native American tribes that were basically fishermen noted this August moon as the Sturgeon Moon because ti was during the time of this full moon that the sturgeon were more readily caught.  It was also known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon by other Native Americans.  Also known as the Full Red Moon as it appeared when rising through a sultry haze.

 

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English: Costco in Moncton, New Brunswick

The Discount-if-you-want-to-buy-large store

Just like Hollywood, I think I figured out a way to make one good idea into two!  LOL LOL, seriously but not too seriously.  I had started my blog post last week with what I’m about to write.  At that time I realized I was going way too deep into my day up to the point of my cousins arrival and not adhering to my title and topic.  I had saved the draft and my intention was to post this the next day.  Well we all know what the road to hell is paved with, now don’t we??   Or is that the seed of yet another blog post about the origin and meaning of well-known and often soon-to-be-obscure phrases?  We’ll see…. But back to the back story of last Friday’s visit with familigia and our subsequent dinner.

My day started out early enough, I had my list written from the night before. Where to go, in what order as well groceries needed.  However, I had also promised a friend to go to his new house twice to open up the door for  deliveries AND I would have to pick my husband up from the train.  AND I wanted to make some gazpacho before my cousins arrived.  I figured they wouldn’t want to go to the beach today, having just returned from Cape May and they would probably stay for dinner.  It was such a hot day, cold gazpacho sounded just right for tonight.

Ah but the best laid plans of mice and men (and yet another little catchphrase!)…. Too many phone calls to get out of the house really early but OK, I’m finally on my way and first stop is the dry cleaners to pick up clothes I need for Sunday.  Oh dear, the dry cleaning will not be in till later this afternoon.  Mmmmm  okay I’l come back later.  Then to Laurie’s vegetable & fruit stand to pick up the ingredients for the gazpacho and snag a couple of peaches too and maybe a few ears of corn – mission accomplished.  Next to Aldi‘s to pick up some staples; park the car, lock it walk to entry, oh I forgot my shopping bags.  A minor delay but nothing to worry about, I flew around the store grabbing what I needed and rushed out.  I just finished putting the bags in the car and my cell phone rings and it is the friend telling me that Lord & Taylor did NOT call him a half hour prior to delivery (so he would be able to alert me) but rather they were waiting at the house.  This turned out to be not so inconvenient because if I went to his house now, I could then go to The Lillagaard to drop off the refrigerated stuff.  I meet the driver and he has only 2 chairs!  That seemed odd for a dining room and especially one whose owner is an interior decorator.  But I signed for them, proceeded to drop off the refrigerated stuff and called him informing deed was done, and why only two chairs?  Answer – apparently, L&T goofed up the delivery.  Oh and by the way, would I be around on Monday for the Target delivery?

Back in the car and off to Starbucks for some well-needed caffeine and a cup of Pike’s for Pete upon his arrival and per his request.  Off to   Costco,  noting the gas price of $3.35 per gallon whereas two weeks ago it was $3.15!  I made a really quick trip through the mega discount-if-you-buy-giant-size store picking up what I needed for Sunday’s tea service.  I still have one more grocery store to go to but decide I should call Peter and see where he is.  Well,  apparently he is and has been waiting at the station to be picked up. So I step on the gas as I wheel out of the Costco parking lot and thereby cause the tray with his cup of coffee  to tip.  It’s an interesting maneuver to be driving, talking on the phone and trying to retrieve a full cup of coffee from the floor of the passenger side.  Of course I got coffee on my pants. I must have a full body magnetic field because food and drink stains are consistently drawn to me.  At home in Manhattan, I believe I am personally responsible for sending at least Korean children to college.

I picked him up and we did NOT go home or Pass Go and collect $200.  We went back to Neptune and to Wegman’s where the two of us set off  in different directions in order to shop twice as quickly.  Time was not on my side!!! I happened to pass the International aisle and the Goya bean display caught my eye.  Mmmm maybe I should make my hot summer night stand-by-Tuna Fennel Cannellini  Bean salad.  Last words heard as we left the store, “I wonder if I have enough gin at home?” Hey I don’t check everything!

Of course Peter didn’t have enough gin! So leaving me at home to begin chopping, peeling, dicing, and  juicing in the course of making gazpacho, Peter left to go out and buy some gin.  Which turned out to be helpful to me because now he could drop off the rest of the refrigerated stuff at the hotel.  And then my dear friend, Susan called.  I believe  she will read this so now she’ll know why I sort of rushed her off the phone and said, “Call me Sunday night when you get home!”

I don’t think it was much more than 10 minutes later that my cousins arrived and I realized I needed tomato juice.  Funny how some things go together!  I called Peter and asked him to pick it up, knowing full well, this would never be done without another phone call.  After quickly greeting my guests, I excused myself to the kitchen to try and get this gazpacho underway.  

If you’re wondering what happened after that and did not read the previous blog post, here’s the link;

https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/too-many-cooks…in-the-kitchen

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Chilled Gazpacho on a hot summer night!

There’s usually a modicum of truth and fact in every  trite phrase and/or axiom.   So here we have an age-old saying; “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth”.  According to Wikipedia, the definition of this phrase is:

“If too many people try to take charge at a task, the end product might be ruined.
also this means that where there are too many people trying to do something they make a mess of it.”

Well,… NOT ALWAYS!

Yesterday my cousin Janet and her husband, Danny and my cousin Marian stopped by for a visit on their way home from a short stay in Cape May.  I knew they were coming (I should have baked a cake) so I got up early and took off for the fruit and vegetable stand to buy the ingredients for Gazpacho.  It was already ridiculously hot and although this was MY day off and I wanted to get some tan, I knew they would not want to go to the beach.   And that by the way has been the story of my summer so far, but that’s another story!

I had several other grocery stops to make before they arrived  because I certainly did not want to attempt to move the car on Saturday and lose my parking space – Hey I thought I was in Ocean Grove, not Manhattan! Anyway by the time I got the Gazpacho slightly underway they arrived.  My kitchen was in the throes of a Julia  Child meltdown, bowls everywhere, knives of all sizes out, cutting boards galore….well I sat Danny down with the New York Times and my cousins and I repaired to the kitchen.

Luckily  I come from a family of capable cooks and cleaner-uppers and so without much discussion, soon all three of us were busily chopping, juicing, peeling, slicing and mixing.  Sounds like a well-oiled machine right? Or at least a kitchen with competent line cooks.  Well, that’s a half truth since we are all competent but we didn’t have set places in the line!!  If you are a cook, you are beginning to get the picture.

Added to the fact that 3 cooks in the kitchen are inevitably in each other’s way, we compounded the problems by the fact that we were creating two dishes and some of the ingredients were the same.  Pretty soon the kitchen was humming with the sound of food processor as Janet ran the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cucumber through the machine.  Peter arrived with the much-needed tomato juice (I had forgotten to buy it-it wasn’t on the list) and I kept running back and forth between my two recipe cards trying to explain to Marian how to make the Tuna-Fennel-Bean salad. She’s mincing where we should be chopping and also telling me that the recipe didn’t call for this much of this or that.  I wanted to expand the recipe so it would feed all five of us.  Then I realized I didn’t have enough lemon juice but Janet who travels with a well-stocked pantry in her car, runs out and comes back with a lemon.   So now we are adding lemon juice to both recipes, zesting into the Tuna dish and rinsing beans.  I look at the front of the recipe card and realize I don’t have any chives;(something I had promised myself I would check before I left for the store.  OK, we all agree, Gazpacho without chives will still be great.  However, Marian does mention that probably when we all taste it, we’ll  agree it should have had chives.  The parsley is out on the counter…. I zip over to where Marian is working at the kitchen table and look at that recipe card and realize I don’t have  any scallions!  Geez, who the heck made the grocery list???  Consensus of cousins decide to use onion powder and not fresh onion because Danny can’t eat them raw.  I had considered going out to my lawn where wild onions grow and use the stalks.

Now here’s where things began to fall apart.  I had committed to opening the door to a friend’s house for a delivery.  The time had come to do so.  Since I was elbow-deep in peeling and chopping hot tomatoes that I had just peeled, I sent Peter and Danny to do so.  NO, I did NOT have the address, I just knew where it was.  That was a predictable disaster.  Peter calls me from his cell phone to say there is no beige house, there is no delivery truck.  Thinking this is typical Peter I yell at him and hang up.   He calls back saying he can’t find it so in exasperation, I tell him to come back and pick me up.  I’m pretty sure my cousins can handle the kitchen without me.  Long story short-I had given him the wrong street.

When I returned the kitchen was practically cleaned up. Janet was washing bowls, Marian was drying, the food processor had disappeared.  Wow, they are fast and efficient.  I look around and see the parsley still out and tell Janet, “uh oh, we forgot to put the parsley in”.  Not to worry, we will chop it up fine and throw in.  Then I turn the card over (you see I am the only one checking the recipe) and once again the big “UH OH” comes out. We didn’t put the olive oil or the red wine vinegar in either! Yes we can add it BUT by now the batch of Gazpacho was too big for one bowl so I had taken some out to put in another bowl.  So just what proportions should I be adding red wine vinegar and olive oil?? Competent cook know what to do and when to punt…. The Tuna-Fennel-Bean salad has come together, the last of the tomato mess in the kitchen has been cleaned up (although this morning I found tomato splash spots on the toaster) and God, it must be time for a drink!

When Janet and Danny visit, we have a tradition of drinking Mojitos of which Danny is the master maker.  I pick some mint from the yard, assemble the rum, limes, muddler and seltzer.  Mmmm there doesn’t seem to be that much rum which I was sure I had, and then realized I had more dark rum (for Dark & Stormy’s).  Janet says not to worry because of course she has rum in the car – I told you she traveled with a pantry.  I take out my simple syrup which Janet has deemed not sweet enough so she goes out to the car and brings back a container of syrup – see what I mean!

And here’s where I’m going to end my story. We had drinks, we yakked, we sat down to eat. EVERYTHING was delicious!  It would have been nice to have a crusty loaf of French or Italian bread but we didn’t and still the meal was a communal success!

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Tomato

Luscious Jersey Tomato

I think I have to do a blog post to pay homage to the Jersey Tomato, one of God‘s blessings on the Garden State.  But not tonight because I’m too tired to think creatively and clearly.  However, I made Gazpacho Sunday night, a dish that is truly a celebration of the fruits of the summer. Tomatoes are the main ingredient and I used some of the best beefsteak tomatoes Jersey has to offer.

And there’s a back story to the Gazpacho recipe.  A few years ago there was a health food store on Third Avenue that made the BEST Gazpacho ever! I would call them from work and ask that they put aside some for me. Once I even served it as a first course at a dinner party! And I would also bring some to New Jersey to give to my friend, Jane.  I never made Gazpacho before so I did some serious research and read several recipes until I found one I that sounded like what I remembered the store’s version to be.  I was RIGHT!!  I’m happy to share it with all of you.  It is easy to make;  the only real work is the prepping of the veggies.

6 tomatoes, cored, peeled and chopped

1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 purple onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

2 TBS chopped chives

2 TBS lemon juice

2 tsp sugar

4 cups of tomato juice

1 tsp Worceshire sauce

6 drops of Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients in food processor.  Refrigerate overnight so flavors can meld.

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