Determined to recreate the mix I whipped up a batch in my kitchen at home. Alas, I only had cantelope - not watermelon - on hand. While not quite the same as Bidwell's delicious concoction it still had me me swooning with culinary delight!
Gazpacho topped with avocado
Serves 2 with leftovers
· 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
· ½ red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped or..roasted peppers (jar)
· 1 cucumber (hothouse) peeled and roughly chopped
· 2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
· 3 cups cold water
· 1 clove garlic, peeled
· 1/8 cup sherry or good wine vinegar
· ¼ cup olive oil
· Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
Soak the bread in 1 cup water for 5 minutes then squeeze out the water.
Place the bread in a food processor or blender along with the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, water, garlic and vinegar. Process until smooth. With the processor running slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, roughly chop the avocado and place in the center of the gazpacho. If desired add watermelon or cantelope balls.
Recipe courtesy of “How to Cook Everything” – Mark Bittman.
Bidwell Street Bistro
1004 East Bidwell Street
Folsom, CA 95630
My wonderful neighbor who has been so good to me the past few years has been under the weather lately. I tried to think of all the things I could do to help out from picking up the mail to driving to the store.
Finally it hit me; a hearty vegetable soup in a rich chicken stock base would be perfect! After a quick raid of my freezer (I am a saver of all bits and pieces of food) I pulled together a heart warming, soul satisfying tomato, broccoli, chick pea, zucchini and pasta soup - with leftovers to spare.
I realize the list of additions below seems rather lengthy but you don't need them all. Feel free to try different combinations or just add the things your family likes to eat.
Everything-in-your-kitchen soup (Hearty soup with vegetables)
• 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 celery stalks, diced
• 1 carrot, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon basil (dried)
• 1 teaspoon oregano (dried)
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 6 cups chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste.
Additions (choose any combination)
• 1-2 tomatoes, diced (peel on or off)
• broccoli, blanched or steamed, cut up
• cauliflower, blanched or steamed, cut up
• 1 cup green beans, cut into 1" pieces
• 1 cup garbanzo beans
• 1 cup cooked corn
• 2 zucchini, cut into pieces
• 1/2 cup broken spaghetti or other small pasta
Optional for serving:
• Grated parmesan
• Lemon juice
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, carrot and celery. Saute for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic, basil and oregano. Stir. Then add the tomato paste and stir to mix with veggies. Finally, add the stock and turn up the heat. When the soup base hits a simmer add enough salt/pepper to taste. Hint: you'll probably need about a teaspoon of salt and a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Now it's time to add your fixin's. I usually save bits of veggies (leftovers which were cooked - saves time when making this) and freeze in small bags, including chopped tomatoes which lose texture when frozen and thawed but still add flavor. I add whatever is on hand; at least 3 types of veggies, some beans (garbanzo, cooked white beans, etc.) and pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes (enough for the pasta to absorb some of the water.) Add the zucchini last (to avoid super mushy zucchini!)
The soup is ready for tasting before the final addition of salt/pepper and possibly a squeeze of lemon. I always have lemon on hand to lighten and brighten my food - it's a personal preference but often is what you want when someone says "this dish is missing something."
Hope this soup brightens your day and your table!
1 lb. bacon – sliced
2-4 cloves garlic - minced (I like a LOT of garlic)
2 cups celery - chopped, with leaves
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 lb. lentils
3 quarts water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional ingredients: bay leaf, basil, hot pepper (hot sauce, Tabasco) for a bit of kick and lemon juice (2 tablespoons or more).
Cook bacon, onions and garlic. Drain the fat thoroughly and then return the mixture to your stock pot.
Add remaining ingredients.
Cook ingredients until lentils are soft but firm.
If you want a creamy texture, puree half the soup in a blender and return to the pot.