About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Lettuce Gazpacho

A surfeit of lettuce and extra warm weather inspired this refreshing mash up. It also proved to be an opportunity to raid my stash of dehydrated vegetables from last year. I've noted the varieties of veggies that I used for my own info only. I'm not sure if it is the lettuce or using dried peppers and tomatoes, but the soup has a nice texture and doesn't need something like bread to give it body.

For the soup:
1 ounce dried sweet red peppers (a mix of varieties)
1 ounce dried tomatoes (Pomme d'Amour)
16 ounces cold water
1 small sweet yellow onion (Yellow Granex), coarsely chopped, about 3.5 ounces after cleaning and chopping
2 anchovy filets
2 tablespoons salt preserved capers, no need to rinse
8+ ounces of fresh crisphead lettuce (Joker), washed but not thoroughly dried, torn into pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive, a mild one that isn't peppery is good (California Olive Ranch)
1 to 2 cups ice water

For the garnish:
1 small avocado, diced
About 1/2 cup each diced fresh sweet red pepper, tomato, and cucumber
Fresh basil leaves, slivered
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
Small cooked cold shrimp

Soak the dried peppers and tomatoes in 16 ounces of water overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the peppers and tomatoes, reserving the soaking water. Combine the peppers, tomatoes, onion, anchovy filets, and capers in a large blender (I use a VitaMix). Blend until coarsely chopped, drizzling in the reserved soaking water to help things along. Add the torn lettuce a few pieces at a time and blend until all the lettuce is incorporated. Blend in a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a teaspoon of sugar. Slowly blend in the olive oil and then a cup of ice water. Taste the soup for seasoning and add more vinegar, salt and sugar to taste (I adjusted to the full amounts noted in the ingredients). Blend at a high speed, but not the highest until the soup is very smooth. Strain through a fine strainer pressing on the solids (shouldn't be much, mostly tomato seeds) to extract most of the liquid. Add more ice water if the soup is too thick. Chill thoroughly.

Mix all of the garnish ingredients except the shrimp adding enough olive oil to moisten the mix. Chill. To serve pour some soup into a chilled bowl or cup, add a few spoonfuls of the garnish and top with a few shrimp.

Makes about 1 3/4 quarts without the garnish.

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