Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gazpacho - a soup or a drink?

The other day I mentioned a questionnaire I was answering to subscribe to a food community. One of the questions was a pet peeve of mine in the kitchen. I had a hard time coming up with one at that moment, but since then they have just been popping up in my mind. Turns out I am quite the kitchen nazi.

Here are a few:
1. When someone grabs food from a platter or picks/eats the garnish before I serve it.
2. When someone hovers while I cook and constantly sticks a spoon or even worse a finger into something I have on the stove top.
3. When someone sticks their fork into my plate while I am eating. (I see a trend emerging here. A touch territorial?)
4. When someone eats pasta and leaves all the sauce in the plate.
5. When someone eats roast chicken and discards the crunchy, salty skin.
6. When someone says they don't like something without ever having tasted it (excluding religious/moral reasons)
7. When someone only takes the runny part of an aged cheese
8. When someone cuts the crust off of cheeses like camembert and brie
9. People (er...Italians) who say English food is terrible. Hello? Gordon? Nigella? Jamie? Heston? (Also, I believe there is no country that does not have a local cuisine, some just have more variety than others)
10. People who think Italy is just pizza, pasta, cappucino and mafia.
11. When people make ..... (brownies, cookies, etc. You choose) and halve the butter, sugar, egg ratio. Don't be surprised if it ain't a ..... or if it isn't as good as the bakery's.
12. Language distorsions.
This opens up a whole new subcategory (and the truth is I probably do the same in languages I don't know so I probably shouldn't cast the first stone). But bear with me and let me rant just this once:
a) biscotti is plural. The singular is biscotto, so you are eating a biscotto, not a biscotti
b) the same goes for panino and panini
c) by the way, biscotti are all kinds of cookies in Italian - even an Oreo, and panini are all kinds of sandwiches, even a club sandwich
d) the same goes for Italians. 'Cookies' are all cookies, not just chocolate chip cookies
e) the right word/spelling is BRUSCHETTA (pronounced broosketta, not brooshetta)
f) why does the package of a regional, traditional Italian cookie (biscotto) have to have 'cookie' written in English under the brand to make it cooler? (And why don't you get a native speaker to correct your English before you print that sentence on 100,000 t-shirts? But I digress...)
g) gelato is all ice cream in Italy, even the Haagen Dazs you buy at the supermarket
h) Fettucine Alfredo are NOT Italian

Since we are discussing all those infuriating/endearing mistakes we make with foreign foods, here is the recipe for gazpacho. I am sure that in Spain every family has a recipe for gazpacho that is the best and only true version. In the recipe I used, which may or may not be authentic, the procedure is a little more complex than my usual throw-together-and-blend-the-vegetables approach. The result is delicious, it really does seem to give the gazpacho an extra kick.

Now to the big dilemma is: is it a soup or is it a drink? 

After doing a little research and because I have close family living in Spain, I feel I can pretty confidently answer it is a soup you can drink. So whether you use a bowl and spoon or a glass is up to you. But because I do not want to become a Spaniard's pet peeve please let us know, if you are out there, if this is true and also what you consider to be the original, one-and-only recipe.

I followed the recipe to  a "t" and made half a batch and then omitted the last step with the other half. You decide which you like best. I drank the first and ate the second with a spoon. What matters is that it bring you pure joy on a hot, hot day like today.

What are your pet peeves in the kitchen?

Adapted from Just Eat it.

approximately 6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled 
1 bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 small red onion, peeled
1 medium garlic clove (adapt to taste) 
1 small serrano chile (I made the kiddie version without) 
1 tsp sugar
1 slice white bread, crust removed and torn into pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar

Chop about 4 of the tomatoes, half of the cucumber, half of the pepper and half of the onion and place in large bowl (I did not deseed the tomatoes and cucumber but go right ahead if you don't mind the extra work). Add the garlic, chile, sugar and 1½ tsp salt. Toss until combined and set aside.
Dice the remaining tomatoes, cucumber and pepper and place in medium bowl. Finely mince the other half of the onion and add. Toss with ½ tsp salt and place in a fine-mesh strainer over medium bowl. Set aside for about one hour.
When the diced vegetables have drained, place them in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Add the bread pieces to the exuded liquid and soak briefly. Add the soaked bread and remaining liquid to the roughly chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Transfer the vegetable-bread mixture to a blender and process, slowly drizzling in the 1/2 cup of oil until completely smooth. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer and use ladle or spatula to press it through. I got bored half way through, so that is one of the reasons I made two separate batches. The second reason is I like my gazpacho a little thick. The smoother, strained gazpacho was delicious too, it almost tastes like a distilled, concentrated version of its cousin. No distractions there. Anyhow, at this point stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with the diced vegetables, olive oil and pepper.


  1. A brilliant list and I regard Gazpacho as a soup.

  2. I regard gazpacho as a soup… but I tend definitely drink rather than spoon it. Is that cheating? That's how I eat miso soup, too. Don't let the spoon slow ya down.

    And I am with you 100% on your language peeves. Drives me a bit bonkers when people say "biscottis" -- it's the food equivalent of "ATM machine" to me.

  3. To the list I would add Midwestern people that play cool by saying they are going to have some "vino and cheese". For whatever reason the needless just-apposition of italian and english words during an English conversation drives me nuts!!

  4. By the way I agree with Meister a soup that you drink.... And your two versions look both awesome!

  5. Love this gazpacho recipe! Perfect for the hot summer days we're having =)

    I think one of my biggest pet peeves is a messy kitchen!

  6. Hehe I always thought of gazpacho as a soup but I suppose it's in the same arena as tomato juice too sometimes! Hehe loved your list too! ;)

  7. Lindy - yes, gazpacho is a soup to me too
    Meister - that is a good one. And I cannot eat miso soup with a spoon either,
    Pola - thanks. Vino and cheese...mmmh, that is a new one to me...
    Peggy - I hate a messy kitchen too.
    Lorraine - definitely a soup you drink.

  8. I made gaspacho a few times using bulgur and other lebanese staples; now I feel it is high time i made it the Spanish way, with bread. Lovely soup especially in this high heat!

  9. Totally a soup you can drink, though I would prefer a spoon.

    My biggest kitchen pet peeve is someone hovering when I'm cooking. But I'm not too keen on people leaving a mess when they cook something and I don't like people moving things around in the fridge! Or my spice cabinet! WAIT! Or putting things back in places they don't belong! AAARRRGGGGHHHHH

  10. ToB - I love the idea of gaspacho with a Middle Eastern twist!
    Andrea - isn't it funny how many pet peeves pop up when you start writing about them...

  11. It looks so delicious but It is neither a drink nor a soup rather than it seems like a smoothie or something similar, what I like is that it's so health because it is made with a lot of vegetables, actually I'd like to make it on weekend in order to my family tasting something really delicious and different.

  12. Well there is no question about it! I am Spanish from Andalucia and I can 100% confirm to you it is not a soup that you can drink. It is a drink and that’s all, nobody in Andalucia would think of eating it with a spoon, people have Gazpacho together with their meal as a drink, the cold soup is called “Salmorejo” and it is a thick soup that one eats with a spoon.

  13. Gazpacho shouldn't have bread...ever. If you use bread is for give it more density or low the vinegar taste, nothing else (spaniard here)


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