Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gazpacho and Paleo Muffins

Just in case you think I can't cook anything but Italian dishes, here is a wonderful summer soup I learned to make while living in Spain.  On a hot summer's day it was very refreshing sitting on an outdoor patio eating this soup, and it was only much later that I realized what a great way it was to use a variety of fresh vegetables. What I especially like is that it gives you all the same benefits that you get from juicing raw vegetables with the added benefit of all the fibre.  And there is a lot less to clean up.

At first glance this might look difficult because there are a lot of ingredients, but  just like many Oriental dishes, once you've prepared everything, the actual making of the dish is very easy.


Ingredients :

-  2 plum tomatoes, quartered
-  1 large cucumber, peeled and halved
-  1 onion, peeled and halved
-  1 cup green bell pepper, diced
-  1 - 4oz jar diced pimento peppers, drained
-  2 - 12oz cans tomato juice
-  1/4 cup olive oil
-  1/3 cup red wine vinegar
-  1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
-  1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
-  a few gratings of freshly ground black pepper
-  2 cloves of garlic, minced
-  1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

In Spain, many still make Gazpacho in huge wooden bowls.  It's fascinating to watch but I'm glad that when I want to make it I have modern appliances. 

Directions :

-  In a blender or processor combine one tomato, half the cucumber, half the onion, a green bell pepper quarter, the pimento and 1/2 a cup of the tomato juice.  Puree until smooth, or leave chunky if you prefer it that way.
-  In a large bowl mix the pureed vegetables with the remaining tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.
-  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least a couple of hours.
-  To serve, place the remaining chopped tomato, cucumber, onion and green pepper in separate bowls and serve as accompaniments to the soup.  Garnish with the chives before serving.
Oster BCBG08-C 6-Cup Glass Jar 8-Speed Blender, Brushed Nickel
Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor

For a more substantial meal you can serve it with chunks of avocado.

If you miss having bread with your soup, try these Paleo cheese muffins.  Cheddar and tomato go wonderfully together, and the sharpness of the cheese and the salsa will completely cover any coconut flavour.

Makes 12 regular muffins

Ingredients :

-  6 eggs
-  1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
-  1/4 cup heavy cream or water
-  2 tablespoons salsa
-  1/2 cup coconut four
-  1 teaspoon baking powder
-  1 cup grated cheddar cheese plus 1/4 for topping

Directions :

-  Preheat the oven to 400'F and butter a 12 cup muffin pan.
-  Mix together the butter, cream and salsa, then mix in the eggs one at a time until well blended.
-  Sift the coconut flour with the baking powder over the bowl with the egg mixture, then mix it in until completely combined.  Don't worry, you can't over mix these muffins.
-  Once combined mix in the grated cheese and make sure it's evenly distributed.
-  Divide among the muffin tins and sprinkle the tops with the reserved cheese.
-  Bake for 15 minutes.

For even more protein try making Protein Muffins.

Another option is to eat it the way I had it served once - with grilled shrimp and a side salad. That was a wonderful meal that I often think about fondly - especially since I ate it enjoying an amazing sea view as well.

Wherever you eat this soup, it will be a very refreshing way to make sure you get your daily quota of fresh vegetables.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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