Saturday, July 16, 2011

Foodbox Friday - Gillian makes Salmorejo (spanish tomato soup)

I had only used a single (gigantic) eggplant from the food box we received on Tuesday and the beets, carrots and cilantro were looking like they could use a new home, in our stomachs. For this Friday dinner we tried to buy very little and tried to use food that we already had. This meant no meat since we had none in the fridge so I turned to our ever-growing pantry for a protein idea. Wrapped in a plastic bag, like most things that my wife can get her hands on in the pantry, was a box of red quinoa. We're always looking for good recipes that use quinoa and other grains/beans because we're pretty darn lazy when it comes to meat and they're supposedly healthier.
Quinoa, Pine Nuts, Green Onion, Cilantro from
What's For Dinner?
Oh, what's that? You'd rather hear about the super star dish of the evening? The one made by Gillian? I figured as much. About a month ago, my wife traveled to the south of Spain, to the city of Còrdoba. Apparently, a very beautiful city full of flowers, not to mention cheap and delicious food. At the very least, she was able to eat a combination of all her favourite foods in one dish: Salmorejo. In short, it's a cold tomato soup, thickened with day old bread and garnished with ham. Chefs say that their food is themselves on a plate but I never took it this literally until I noted the main ingredients of this soup. My wife in 3 words: tomatoes, carbs, ham.

Southwestern Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad + Beets
from Laws of Good Eating
The beets add such an interesting colour, to everything
they touch...
Our menu: 

- Southwestern Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad, from Laws of Good Eating

  • I somehow missed the seasoning in this dish and ended up serving it sans salt, pepper and cayenne. As I ate it, I wondered how this colourful, hearty salad could be so bland? I couldn't sleep, waking up around 4am (too many nightmares of having ruined this dish!) and while writing this entry, realized I was incredibly hungry. I pulled out the leftovers from the fridge and took a few bites realizing that it still tasted fairly similar. After writing a bit more, I went to find the recipe to link and noticed all the seasoning giggling at me. With a quick eye roll and a sigh at myself, I went back into the kitchen to do this dish justice. It's delicious. 
  • As a side note, I added sliced roasted beets to this recipe because I was debating between that or trying Sarah's beet brownie recipe from simply cooked. Savoury won out as usual, but only because our guests were bringing dessert. Next time!

- Quinoa with Pine nuts, Green Onions and Cilantro, from What's for Dinner? (Anyone else know that cookng show? It's not named after it.)

  • Following the recipe correctly really helped this dish. I'm also a big fan of cooking quinoa, or anything, in a stock of some kind. It adds so much flavour. This one is really simple, in preparation, appearance and flavour but it's a winner.

- Baked Sweet Potato Fries, from Zesty Cook

  • I'll never get baked Sweet potato fries the way I like them: deep-fried.

- Herb Roasted Carrots, from TasteInspired

  • I used dried thyme, rosemary, parsley. I think I meant to add some honey but forgot. I prefer honey-herb roasted carrots. 

Salmorejo, from suite101, Gillian's changes in Italics
2 lbs tomatoes, 6 medium-large tomatoes
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed, half a loaf of old Italian Bread (50% off)
1/2 red bell pepper, nope.
2 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine tomatoes, white bread, bell pepper, garlic, sugar and cayenne pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Whizz on high speed until mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Whizz again, and with the processor running, stream in your olive oil.
Taste the soup again and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
Strain into a large bowl and chill for at least 3 hours, or until ready to serve.
Soup can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the fridge.

Garnish with hard boiled egg slices, olive oil and some fried prosciutto (if you can't find serrano ham). The cilantro was me, not her because ...well...I'm still Vietnamese!
She even edited this poorly taken picture...
I'm not a huge fan of cold soups but Salmorejo is really something else. Every flavour is distinct while still playing together so perfectly and the ham and egg just work. I want to say that it's incredibly rich because it tastes quite salty and olive oily in that kinda good, salty, olive oily way. However, I ate three bowls, mopping up this bready soup, with french baguette. Oh, and then I finished the stuff still left in the main large bowl. All that may have dehydrated me, so she made me a three layer juice (a secret family recipe) to end the evening before we started cleanup.

Cold. Refreshing. Her dad's drink of choice.
Time to go have some 7am breakfast soup.

for the thrill of it
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