Saturday, July 13, 2013

Green Chile Gazpacho

I've been gone a very long time!  Life...

 I've been avoiding this blog because I've wanted to change the format, and I seriously don't know how.  I kept thinking that my abilities would someday mysteriously improve and I could fix the things that need "fixin".  Alas, I am no closer, no brighter, no more "techie" then I was before. Therefore, the only thing left to do, is keep moving forward until I can pay someone to help me out.

I have a new Gazpacho recipe.   The lovely thing about this recipe is it uses produce items that many of us find each weekend at our markets: Zucchini, Cucumber, Onion, Garlic, Green Tomatoes, Fresh herbs and in some areas, Roasted Green Chiles.  It's unique and refreshing, and it does not use chicken stock or dairy.

The recipe provide is just a suggestion (as always).  I want you to play with this a little. Add more of things you enjoy and less of those you don't.  Also, the soup will taste different after it has chilled for about 4 hours, so taste it again before serving it.  I will offer serving suggestions, and extra flavor profile ideas, at the end of the post.  IF you are new to my blog, this recipe, as with all food, needs a balance of : Salt, Piquancy (pepper) and Acid (ex: lime juice, vinegar, yogurt, buttermilk, etc).

                    Green Chile Gazpacho

1 large Zucchini, chopped (the more zucchini you use, the creamier it becomes)
1 medium cucumber, chopped
4 Roasted Green Chiles, cleaned, chopped
1 light green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
1 large GREEN tomato, cored, chopped
1/4 white or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro
2 Tablespoons mint (personally, I like 3 times this amount)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 Tablespoons White balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 Cup cold water (maybe more if needed)
1 teaspoon honey

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend for 3-4 minutes ( or more) until absolutely smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Chill for at least 4 hours. Serve with a little chopped cucumber, and zucchini, and a drizzle of olive oil.

*IF the Gazpacho is too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin add more zucchini or cucumber or both.
*Feel free to add a little avocado, or even1/2 cup of buttermilk if you want a creamy Gazpacho.
*This is a smooth soup (because I LOVE smooth soups!) but you can make this a chunky soup, by adding an additional,  1/4 cup (chopped) of each vegetable in the recipe, right before serving. Please adjust seasonings: salt, Pepper, olive oil, and vinegar (you'll need it).
**IF for any reason, you find your soup, bitter ( the skins on Cukes can be bitter), a little honey will mellow it out. 

 I hope you try this soup!  Or at least add it to your recipe file, it's nice to have when everyone is bombarded with a million pounds of Zucchini


Chef Deb 

 Follow me on Twitter @ChefDebTraylor

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winter Kale Salad w/ Citrus Vinaigrette

Let's be completely honest.... It's incredibly difficult to eat salads composed of micro greens while we're still in the middle of winter. 

I desperately want to eat lighter, but on a personal and professional level, I shy away from the same old tired salads: Caesar, the standard "house" salad, or those with a gummy balsamic dressing. These salads have been done over and over, and many have been done poorly. 

What I love about this salad is, it's hardy and refreshing all at the same time.

winter kale salad

Recently, I was served a similar salad at one of my local restaurants, and after the first bite, I was hooked.  I have eaten a version of this raw salad, EVERYDAY!   I Love, Love, LOVE this easy salad. 
I hope you will try it too, and leave those other boring, frail salads to everyone else.

A Few Notes before you begin.

1. Try to use Tuscan Kale (Cavalo neroOther names: black kale, Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale).  If you aren't sure what it looks like, Click HERE .  Tuscan Kale is more tender then the frilly kale you see as a garnish, although it works too.
2. When you slice the kale, perk it up by soaking the kale in ice water for 30 minutes, then spin it dry with a salad spinner.
3. Massage the dressing into the kale, with our hands.  By using your hands and gently rubbing the kale between your palm and fingers, you actually soften the greens, therefore you tenderize the kale.  Massage for 2-3 minutes, until the kale shines and is deep green. ( I know it's strange, but trust me).
4. This salad will hold for a least 6-8 hours (or more) once you dress it, so it's a perfect work day lunch, or pot luck dish you can make ahead.

                  Winter Kale Salad w/Citrus Vinaigrette
                       Serves 2-4

2 bunches Tuscan Kale/ Nero, thick stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
3 leaves Radicchio, thinly sliced
2 oz. Feta
2 whole artichoke hearts, thinly sliced (pick up a few from the olive bar at your local market)
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts ( or walnuts, pecans)

Citrus Dressing
Juice and zest of one orange ( I like cara cara, blood, or honey oranges)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients of the citrus dressing with a whisk, set aside.  ( don't worry if the dressing separates).

In a large bowl, combine kale and radicchio and drizzle half of the dressing over the mixture, using your hands, massage the dressing into all the leaves for 2-3 minutes.  Once all the leaves are coated, the salad it ready to plate.

To plate: arrange kale/radicchio salad on chilled plates, then top each salad with sliced artichokes, feta, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle a tiny bit of dressing on each.


Chef Deb

P.S.  I recently "tried" to tidy up my blog, but it sent out several post from the past instead.... I apologize.  Thank goodness I am a better chef then I am a blogger.    I do have upcoming classes at Mountain High Appliance in Louisville, Colorado.  I will post them as soon as we schedule them!

Stay warm...and eat your greens!