Saturday, September 14, 2013

The 15-Minute Gazpacho Challenge

First of all, pats on the back.  I visited my local farmer's market this morning, and took advantage of pie pumpkins at $1.50 each.  I figured I'd get a jumpstart on my fall food preparations.

Today, I baked all of those pumpkins, pureed them, and froze 21 cups' worth...which will become sundry baked items sometime between now and Christmas (starting with a batch of pumpkin pancakes tomorrow, methinks).

So, yeah, kudos to me.  And kudos to you!  For whatever amazing things you might have done today as well.

I had every intention of making gazpacho this morning, and before I knew, it was nearly time to take Monkey Boy to his soccer game.  No time for gazpacho...or was there?

Enter the 15-minute Gazpacho Challenge!  All photographs taken by Kirby Nelson, 12.

Me, my hands, my knives, my Ninja.

We need to leave the house by 10:15 to be at the soccer fields by 10:30.  I have 15 minutes.

The Culinary Arts Program Director would refer to this as my "grandma cuts", but time is of the essence, and I revert back to my childhood habits.

Snafu #1: You'll no doubt notice the significant problem with the tomatoes, taken just a couple hours earlier from my freezer.  They're still frozen.  But like I'm going to let that stop me...after all, I have a freakin' Ninja.

Yeah, the knife is a blur because I'm just moving that fast!  Again, the cut is sloppy...but precision is a challenge for another time.

I'm throwing stuff into the Ninja.  Like a ninja.  All that shoddy rough chopping is moot as all the gaz vegetables come one.

What kind of pepper is this?  A really hot one, that I can't remember the name of.  It was given to me by a loyal customer.  It is being de-seeded, and I hope it won't feel emasculated and less of a pepper because of it.

Salt, natch.  Taste as you go and correct salt as needed.  Since this is a cold soup, the salt perception-taste won't change much (as opposed from a warm dish that has cooled).

A closer look at the Ninja's contents show a massive chunk of frozen tomatoes.  Should have known that would come back to haunt me.  However, I suspected it was no match for the Ninja...

Fourteen minutes later...

I have this chunky vegetably goodness.  I will say....more salt, garlic, and one less cucumber (I'd done two)...maybe even more onion.  The spiciness was spot on (two neutered jalapeños and one desexed red-hot pepper).

Challenge Wrap-Up: 15-Minute Gazpacho is totally possible.  Mise en place is key.  Have your tomatoes thawed (if you're using frozen, ignore if otherwise).  I think next time I'll add a bit of crusty bread for some structure and body...which might add another five minutes to the process.

But it's probably worth it.

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