Monday, January 15, 2007

Gazpacho with Balsamic Glaze

For my inaugural French Laundry at Home experiment, I chose the Gazpacho (pg. 35) with the recommended Balsamic Glaze (pg. 238).

Truth be told, the Gazpacho would be best made in summer with fresh ingredients, but my local Whole Foods had everything I needed and the quality of the produce seemed okay to me. I'm a big fan of cooking with what's actually in season, but in this case, I wanted to start with one of the book's easier recipes so I could gently ease myself into this crazy project.

Back to the Gazpacho... here are the ingredients:

Next, you to mix them in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight. Here's what it looked like before I covered it and put it in the fridge:

Pretty, huh? The book recommends making a balsamic glaze for this, so I did that last night, too, so the reduction would have time to cool down to room temperature today. Here's the prep work I had to do for the Balsamic Glaze:

Here it is in the early stages of reducing to a glaze:

The whole process of reducing the balsamic vinegar took about 2 1/2 hours, and my kitchen still smells a bit vinegary today, but I don't mind. The Balsamic Glaze should be stored at room temperature and drizzled onto the Gazpacho before eating it. I have lots of it left over, so I'll have to see what else I can make that uses this glaze. It's sharp and bright, but with a sweet and tangy aftertaste. It's the consistency of molasses... maybe even slower and thicker.

After the Gazpacho ingredients spent the night in the fridge, I removed the sprig of thyme and poured the ingredients into a blender, pureeing them until smooth. And now, the finished product in a bowl and ready for lunch:

Delicious. I took some across the street so that my neighbors could try it. Their ten-year old son loved it -- even the balsamic glaze. We're having abnormally warm weather here in DC for January, so I almost felt like it was summer. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. In eating this, I was reminded of the Spanish exchange students my parents hosted one summer. They used to cook for our family on weekends when they had their other exchange-student friends over, and I still remember how good that food was -- very different from the PA Dutch cooking I grew up with. I know they made gazpacho, but I can't remember exactly what theirs tasted like -- I just remember it made me want to go to Spain for cooking classes (which, 20 years later, I have yet to do). This is as close as I'm gonna get for awhile.

Whew! Two recipes down, soooo many more to go. This is fun! (Remind me of this sentiment when I'm knee-deep in trying to poach quail eggs and tearing my hair out making veal stock from scratch.)

Brands used:
Produce from Whole Foods
Antica Italia olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Muir Glen
Le Crueset

Music to Cook By: Original Soundtrack from "Invincible" (hey, the Eagles lost in the playoffs Saturday night, so this was a bit of a shout-out to them. Plus, the word "invincible"? Not a bad mindset to be in for this project.)


Anonymous said...

I love your site and look forward to following your excellent adventure!

Tony Greaves

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! I found out about from a friend's email and I think it's really cool! Good luck with all the cooking. It looks like fun...... (and I like the music-to-cook-by. Neat idea)

Anonymous said...

Didn't Sandra Lee do this same recipe on her July 4 picnic show?

I think she used a fun beach ball and a US-flag-themed blanket from Hobby Lobby as a tablescape or something. That really jazzed up the meal, as I remember. Maybe you should try that!


Carol Blymire said...

Yeah, Simple Sandy did try a gazpacho recipe on her show a few weeks ago, but she used chicken stock (I know, whuuhh?!?!?!), a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables, and orange juice. It looked like vomit -- but doesn't most of her food?

Sara said...

Remember, Sandy also used health nut bread. Attention to detail!!

I just got the French Laundry cookbook for the holidays and haven't made anything from it yet, so I'm excited to see how things go for you.

Anonymous said...

DG, I finally made it over here to comment!(I see someone has beaten me to the Sandra Lee question) Whoot! I can't wait to see what's up next. Tony had it right when he said that this will be an adventure, and I'm more than happy to tag along.

Anonymous said...

"We're having abnormally warm weather here in DC for January, so I almost felt like it was summer."

You jinxed us! It was you who made winter rear it's ugly head. But your food looks good ;)

Carol Blymire said...

C -- don't shoot me! We needed to get winter out of the way so that summer and fall can get here, pronto. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Amazing. I could eat your blog right up, you know. I totally heart the photos. Has Food Network contacted you yet?