I’ve been sick for the past week.
That means not much cooking went on in my house
even though I tried to guilt trip Husband into cooking for me.
Instead, he picked up Lipton noodle soup at the beginning of the week
and got Chinese takeout at the end of the week.
Hot Pockets also made an appearance in there.
It was not a proud week
but it did remind me a lot of summertime as a teenager.
Back then I made what I could find in the pantry and freezer
and I guess that was a lot of Lipton, Hot Pockets, and eggrolls.
Saturday and Sunday still found me dragging myself from one flat surface to another
but I was going a little bit crazy from not cooking.
Since Husband was neither going to use up the tomatoes eking past their prime
nor the cucumber languishing in the refrigerator beside the bell pepper
I decided it was time to return to the kitchen.
Wasting food almost causes me to lose sleep at night
and since I was already coughing most of my nights away
I decided it was time to make some gazpacho.
Modified from Jose Andres’ Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America
2 pounds ripe red tomatoes (about 10 plum tomatoes)
8 ounces cucumber (about 1 cucumber)
3 ounces green pepper (about 1/2 bell pepper)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled
3/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Note: I recommend a lighter olive oil. Lucini is great and doesn’t PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE with olive oil flavor. Depending on what olive oil you use, the flavor be overpowering, so stick with one that is on the buttery side.
Salt to taste
1. Chop up all ingredients (peel cucumbers, remove seeds and top of bell pepper, tomatoes can be cored, but leave the skins).
2. Throw everything but the salt and oil into a blender.
3. Turn on the blender and blend until smooth. Take a taste and see if you need more vinegar. The sweetness of the tomatoes will vary from batch to batch. Add some more vinegar to balance out everything if necessary.
4. Add the olive oil and salt and reblend.
5. Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer. Your mixture should be smooth with a lot of body.
6. Chill. I like mine very cold.
I like to serve the soup with grilled toast brushed with olive oil.
Andres has an elaborate garnish component in the book
but I rarely prepare it.
Husband and I nibbled (sipped?)
on the gazpacho all Saturday
and by Sunday I was still self-quarantined
but could not hold myself back from cooking a full meal for any longer.
First I made pita bread
I couldnt be arsed to break out the real camera
so just used my phone.
I make no excuses.
My fourth attempt at this recipe
and my pitas poofed.
Like the elusive Big Foot, this puffy pita was hard to photograph.
Is that enough alliteration for you?
I slid pair after pair of dough rounds in the oven
and after a while my reward was this:
I would be inclined to say they we’re pillowy, puffy, pitas
but that might be pushing the ‘p’ theme a bit
so I’ll just say that they were soft and had the appropriate pocket in each.
Both recipes are from Ruta Kahate’s 5 Spices, 50 dishes
a short cookbook with which I’ve had great success.
I improvised some saffron jasmine rice as well
which consisted of steaming some jasmine rice in chicken broth with saffron.
The chicken curry was pretty simple.
Brown some onions
add the spice paste and garlic, stir around for a while
then add the tomatoes
cook the tomatoes down a little bit
add water and the chicken
(I’ll use broth or stock next time)
and simmer until chicken is cooked through.
The book says to cook the chicken uncovered
but I covered it for the last bit of stove time
since I wanted a looser sauce.
I discarded the skin after cooking
because anything less than shatteringly crisp chicken skin is not for me.
The recipe calls a bit of apple cider and sugar to be added at the end
which I loved.
When I tasted the saffron rice straight out of the pot I didn’t care for it too much
but found was great with the curry.
I halved the recipe
because I only thawed a pound and a half of chicken.
I love rice with any type of soupy gravy or broth
so next time
even if I halve the recipe
I would double the base.
The onion raita didn’t go perfectly with the chicken
but I liked the flavor of it.
Next time I think I’ll serve it with something other than chicken.
I think it needs to accompany a stronger protein so it doesn’t overwhelm it.
Husband proclaimed the meal
a ‘make again’ meal
although he politely picked around his onion raita.
I have liver and onions with grilled polenta up next on the list
and I’m hoping that it turns out well.
My experience with liver has not been a good one
but this is from our meat CSA
so I’m hoping that it turns out better than other liver I’ve had.
We’ve heard nothing on our vegetable CSA.
The owner deleted my comment from her blog
never contacted me about helping them
and hasn’t updated anyone in three days about what is going to happen.
For all that arm flapping and doom and gloom
it doesn’t seem like she’s very serious about making this work
but who knows
maybe she’ll come back with a plan.
I don’t know what she’s doing up there
but I’m not sure she does either.