Sunday, July 22, 2012

Green Gazpacho

This gazpacho recipe will serve around 12 as a first course. I have tried to remember the proportions but this is a rough idea; it's good to have extras of the various ingredients to adjust to taste.

-9 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
-1 cup green grapes
-1/4 cup almonds
-1 onion, chopped
-6 cloves of garlic
-1/3 cup fresh parsley
-1 jalapeño pepper, sliced (including ribs and seeds)
-Juice of 2 lemons
-1 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup champagne vinegar (any white wine vinegar will also work)
-1 small loaf of crusty white bread
-Salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.

-Slice the bread and put in a bowl; drizzle with about half the olive oil and vinegar and set aside to soak.
-Puree the other ingredients. I use a food processor and need to do it in several batches. To each batch with the food processor running, add drizzles of olive oil and vinegar to incorporate.
-Strain the soup. This step is a pain but the texture was feeling really mealy with the grape skins, almond bits, and cucumber and japaneño seeds. After straining the soup will be watery but smooth, and the flavors will be amazing.
-Puree the soaked bread, incorporating some of the strained soup back into the food processor to help in liquifying everything.
-Mix the pureed bread and soup into the main batch (keep an eye on the texture, if it's looking thick enough you don't have to add all of the bread), adjust seasoning, and chill until ready to serve (the freezer works fine for this; just take it out a little before serving and mix it up to melt any bits that may have frozen around the edges).
-Serve with a garnish of sliced grapes or cucumbers or tomatoes, or herbs, or whatever you want!

Humita (Argentine Corn Pudding)

This recipe is adapted from Francis Mallmann's fantastic Seven Fires cookbook, an excellent source for a gourmet twist on Argentine cuisine. This recipe is much lighter and fresher than other versions of humita I have had in more traditional contexts.

-12 ears of corn: they are supposed to be grated to release the juices, but I don't have a box grater. I just sliced the kernels off of the corn and then ran them through a food processor in several batches. About half of the batches I just pulsed a few times, and the rest I ran until it was a very fine puree with all the released liquid content, to make the final texture a little more varied.
-4 Tablespoons butter
-2 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 large onion, chopped (2ish cups?)
-1 cup whole milk
-2 cups fresh basil leaves, sliced
-Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes

-Sautee the onion in the butter and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, until deeply brown and caramelized (you're not supposed to caramelize the onions but I like it better that way).
-Add in the corn and all its juices and stir a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
-Add the milk in in about 1/4 cup batches, waiting until each batch is absorbed.
-Simmer until the corn is creamy and dense, and adjust the seasoning of salt and pepper if necessary.
-Reduce the heat and stir in the basil and red pepper flakes.

This amount I made served ~12 as a side dish. The corn can also be used as a main course, served with crusty bread and a salad; but the most traditional way I have encountered it is as a vegetarian filling for empanadas.