Maybe you don’t like your job,
Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep,
Well nobody likes their job, nobody got enough sleep.
Maybe you just had the worst day of your life,
But you know, there’s no escape, there’s no excuse,
So just suck up and be nice.
-Ani Di Franco
I feel like the above quote might not come of quite like I mean it…so I shall elaborate.
I recently switched jobs at the hotel. I went from a fun, sometimes stressful job working with amazing people to a job that could best be described as Atlas-like.
It is not that I am not capable of carrying the load, I just haven’t quite found the best way to carry it. Last night I kept trying to describe what walking into a position that has been vacant for probably year, but is utterly necessary to the operation of a hotel is like and I kept using food metaphors. Like an apple so big I am not sure where to take the first bite hits the nail on the head. Despite the overwhelming amount that is on my plate, I know I have support from my peers and superiors which is crucial every time I hit a roadblock. It is refreshing to be challenged everyday with new experiences and hurdles, only to find that they are totally surmountable. When I first started baking nothing ever turned out like it was supposed to. There were many times I nearly gave up out of frustration. Now baking is my stress reliever. Give me an empty kitchen, a glass of wine, and music and I come out a new woman. I am putting faith in the thought that one day, and probably sooner than I think this new gig is going to become natural. There will be things like macaroons or disciplinary action that will throw me for a loop, but at the end of the day I did the best I could.
Alrighty-roo, therapy session and overwrought food metaphors are over. Thanks for letting me vent via blog. On to the cooking!
a Latte' with Ott, A
Over at A Latte’ with Ott, A there is a great cooking contest sponsored by Red Gold Tomatoes for the person with the best canned tomato recipe. I had been pondering for a while on which direction I wanted to go with my tomato-y inspiration and everything Italian immediately bounced around my noggin. As much as I love spaghetti and the like, with Spring breathing down my neck (and into my sinuses) I just wasn’t feeling a heavy, hearty dish.
Ever since Esq. and I celebrated our first Meatless Monday, on Sunday, I realized how much meat I eat and it was a little excessive. Call me southern or old fashioned, but to me a normal meal is Meat and Three. I have kind of surprised myself with how easy it is to just skip the meat part of the meal and still feel totally full and satisfied. By no means am I becoming vegetarian, more power to those who are, but did you read my post about baking chicken?
Long story short. When warmer weather, meatlessness, and a light meal collided in my head Gazpacho was declared the winner. Gazpacho is a cold, tomato based Spanish soup, that in my experience can be done really well, or not. A bad gazpacho is one that is overly acidic, anemic, not fresh, or to runny. Good gazpacho is harder to quantify, let’s just say it is the perfect answer to a hot day when you are craving something fresh.
Despite the pretty horrid versions I have tried, it is pretty fool proof. Do you have a food processor, fresh veggies, and tomato juice? Great! You too can make gazpacho!
Gazpacho is fairly versatile. When I was at the store I stuck to the basics, but then just selected those veggies that were the freshest and fit within the flavor profile I was going for.
Before I began to process all of the ingredients I cut all of the veggies into cubes and kept them separate.
For my gazpacho I used:
Red Bell Pepper, I had a momentary thought about roasting the pepper first, but for the sake of saving time I did not. I think when I make this again I will go ahead and roast it to bring out a smoky flavor.
Bell Pepper - To Roast or Not to Roast!?!
Red Onion not only provides more color to the dish, but its flavor is not to acrid to serve raw.
Cucumber is really key in providing the light fresh flavor that makes gazpacho so delightful, just make sure you remove the seeds!
I decided to add just a little bit of celery to my gazpacho, some people have very strong feelings on celery…if you hate it, feel free to ditch it. I personally find celery to be great at enhancing other flavors in a dish. Count me as a celery fan!
The last of the veggies to go in was the jalapenos. I removed all of the seeds to prevent the heat from becoming overwhelming. Please remember to either wear gloves or wash your hands throughly after messing with jalapenos. I managed to burn my eyes a bit when taking a shower several hours later, jalapenos mean business!
The very last things to go into the chopper are the power players; garlic, parsley, and cilantro.
In order to make sure nothing liquifies and all ingredients are equally chopped make sure to put only one ingredient in the food processor at a time.
Chopping Red Onion
Chop everything till it is a fine mince, before it begins to liquify.
Now that all the fresh veggies are ready to go, stir until well mixed.
While stiring together the veggies its time to work on the star ingredient, Red Gold Diced Tomatoes!
I drained off the excess juice from the tomatoes and threw them into the processor for just a few seconds. Perfection!
With the tomatoes included, I added tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar and whole kernel corn. In case you haven’t noticed, Esq. and I have a bit of a love affair with corn. Should I add corn is a rhetorical question…
With all of the ingredients incorporated it’s time to seal your gazpacho in an airtight non-metal container and let sit overnight in the fridge so that all of the flavors have time to develop and it can chill to the proper temperature.
Tonight, after the gazpacho had ample time to develop and chill I topped my bowl with ripe avocado and dug in! So yummy! The cool but spicy bowl of vegetable-y goodness hit the spot.
Gazpacho for Dinner!
Red Gold Gazpacho
1 red onion, medium sized
1 red bell pepper
3 celery stalks
1 cucumber, seeds removed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, peeled
23 oz Red Gold diced tomatoes
3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
1 avocado (for garnish)
Cube pepper, cucumber, celery, jalapeno into large chunks. Place each vegetable one at a time into food processor, chop until finely minced. Scraping down sides often.
Process garlic, parlsey, and cilantro until minced.
Combine chopped ingreients in a large bowl. Stir to incorporate.
Pulse drained Red Gold diced tomatoes for a few seconds or until it is a chunky sauce. Add tomato mixture to the chopped ingredients.
Add tomato jucie, corn, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir well until everything is incorporated.
Store overnight in a well sealed non-metal bowl in the refridgerator.
Serve with cubed avocado garnish.