Monday, June 27, 2005

Maria and The Gazpacho

The Baron's Boy brought his True Love home to meet the family. By all accounts it was a successful event. She is sweet, demure, and intelligent and the Baron is most pleased. So am I, for that matter. It's wonderful to watch them from the safe harbor of age. Having to sort all that out seems so laborious now, but that's easy to say at this distance, sitting as I am in bare, ruined choirs; to them it's all new and exciting and the birds are indeed singing from every branch...

Speaking of which, we spent time after supper watching the hummingbirds flitting about the mimosa tree blossoms. They seem to have made a nest in the near-by wild cherry. It may be secreted between the gnarly vines of a rampant English ivy that has overtaken the tree. I'd planned to have the tree taken down soon but perhaps should wait. I wonder when hummingbirds fledge?

Maria -- for that is the name of our True Love -- is a vegetarian. Fortunately, veggie food can be rather fun to fix. Below is a recipe for gazpacho...which I made and then forgot to serve. Obviously, there were lots of choices so it wasn't missed: eggplant parmesan, thai veggies with saffron rice, southern-style green beans and potatoes, and plates of shrimp and ham for those who do eat meat. I notice the lack of bread; it's something we seem to have dropped from our eating habits.

Here is the unserved gazpacho, which Maria and I ate the next day, and which I will be having for awhile:

Gazpacho Dymphna

several good tomatoes
an English cucumber
a red pepper
a green pepper
two scallions
1 clove garlic
1 medium shallot
crumbled stale bread crumbs (use good bread)
fresh dill and cilantro and chives
ground cumin if you like
optional: an egg.*
wine vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper (or cayenne) to taste

Cut the vegetables in half.
Put one half in the blender with some V-8.
Chop or mince the other half, depending on how fine you like the pieces to be.
Dump all together in a pretty glass bowl.
Put some more V-8 in the blender along the white part of the scallions, the garlic and shallot. Blend and pour into the bowl.
More V-8 into the blender with the bread crumbs and egg. Blend well. Add vinegar and dribble in the oil while the blender is running. Pour this into the bowl.
Finally, add the chopped green onion tops along with minced chives, dill and cilantro. Sprinkle cumin to taste along with salt and pepper.
Chill for several hours. Taste and correct seasonings to suit.
If serving outside, set the bowl in a larger one containg crushed ice.

Variation: Crab Gazpacho
Instead of the cumin, cilantro, etc., use crab boil seasoning (suit to taste)and add crab meat after everything else has been blended.

*If using an egg, it's best to know from whence it comes. Salmonella is not as big a problem as it's touted to be, though it does deserve your cautious respect. However, if it's your neighbor's chickens which have been running about the yard and you've talked to the hens about their health, the eggs are safe enough. Just don't forget to wash the shell first.


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