Saturday, May 30, 2020

Classic Gazpacho - Recipe by Jose' Andres

We love this soup.  So much in fact that a picture of it is up at the top of this blog in the header image!  I had grand goals of posting about it years ago, better late than never.   The soup is cold and refreshing and perfect with just about anything.  Also, it's EASY.  It does take some forethought as you want to give the ingredients time to marry together, but other than that, it's a snap.  

This is the perfect summer soup because most of the ingredients can all be found fresh in the summer.  My local grocery store did not have sherry vinegar, but I was able to find it at Whole Foods.    

I hear it described as a cold tomato soup, which is factually accurate, but I don't like to think of it that way since I am not a huge fan of tomatoes.  I do NOT like hot tomato soup.  Not one bit.  Or too much raw tomato on anything.  SO, the fact that this soup is so amazingly good and perfect yet chock full of pureed tomatoes speaks to how well the other ingredients shine as well.   

This recipe is by Jose' Andres, a chef we follow and have enjoyed eating at several of his restaurants.  

Recipe - Classic Gazpacho by Jose' Andres

1-1/2 lbs tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus 1/2 tomato diced for garnish
3/4 medium cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped, remainder diced for garnish
1/2 medium green bell pepper, roughly chopped, remainder diced for garnish
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

1. Combine ingredients (except garnish) in a large bowl, toss to combine.  Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, up to 1 day. 

2. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days.  When ready to serve, top each serving with garnish of vegetables and drizzle of olive oil.   Optional - top with homemade croutons or serve with crusty bread.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Easy Pickled Red Onions

My life has not been the same since I discovered I like pickled vegetables. I do not like actual PICKLES, so was hesitant to make any pickled vegetable.   After better understanding what makes a vegetable "pickled", I realized it's not the pickled part I do not like about pickles, its the dill.  Yuk. Since most pickles are dill pickles, you can see why I decided all pickled thing were gross.   Pickling vegetables is so easy, and adds some crunch and ZING to dishes.   I talked about this back in 2012 in a blog post about Banh Mi, check it out here - Grilled Banh Mi Sandwiches.


Pickled red onions are amazing.  They are good on so many things, the main thing being tacos. Any kind of tacos.  Think tacos are boring?  Looking for a new take on your go-to taco recipe?  Just want to jazz the up a bit?  Look no further than pickled red onions!  It's so easy, and I'm telling you, you will be addicted once you start making these. 

Large red onion, sliced

Bring pickling mixture to a boil

simmering the pickling liquid. Warning, do not put your face over the steam.  It is STRONG. 

Pour hot liquid over onions and stir until well coated. Break apart the onion. 

After hanging out in the refrigerator for 5 hours

Make yourself some tasty tacos with your favorite toppings, including pickled red onion

Enjoy your tasty taco! 

1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno pepper (or any hot pepper of your choosing), thinly sliced
2 dried bay leaves
1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1. Combine ingredients through bay leaves in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Put your sliced onion in a glass container, enough to cover with the liquid.  Cover with the liquid and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to get a good coat on the onions.
3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Drain, discard bay leaves, and eat!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Flashback: Take Me Out To the Ballgame - SF Giants

This post, like my last on April 26, 2020, is taking place during the coronavirus pandemic.  Today is actually the last day of my states mandatory stay at home order. Tomorrow starts encouraged stay at home as much as possible, teleworking strongly encouraged when possible, and wear a mask in public.   That's what's going on in our slice of the world, crazy crazy time we are all in.  Continuing on my same theme from last post, I'm hitting the archives for trips I either never posted about, or never finished.  This one is from the "never finished" category from the summer of 2018. Zac spoke at a conference in Silicon Valley, and we made a long weekend out of the trip to the Bay Area.   I started writing this a while back, so we will just jump in now like it is 2018....

July 28, 2018 - It's the last day of our San Francisco Bay Area Adventure! To hear about our adventures south in Silicon Valley, check out this post - Silicon Valley Eats and Treats, and for Day 1 of our time in the city - A San Francisco Treat!.  

Zac was an early bird on our last day.  Guess he was excited that we will be going to an SF Giants game later in the day to close out our trip.  He's been a fan since he was a kid, so exciting times are a-coming.  Also, the SF Giants are known for way more than hot dogs and cracker jacks at the stadium. Supposed to have some very good and gourmet eats.  Pretty early, Zac went out exploring from our hotel, Parc 55 near Union Square, and walked down to the Ferry Building on the Bay.  On Saturdays they have a farmers market with lots of food vendors. He got these great pics of the Bay Bridge and Ferry Building. 

Breakfast - He got the Golden State, and it looked so good! 

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, I eventually venture down and enjoy a nice late hotel breakfast.  It was NICE.  Lots of things on the buffet.  Lots.  Fancy tasty things. 

After breakfast we are reunited, and are ready to take on the day!  We head over to the Fillmore Farmer's Market.  I love big city farmer's markets.  Lots of diverse fruits and veggies and homemade things and meats and, well sometimes you just never know!  Prior to this trip I discovered that I like figs, thanks to my parents having planted a fig tree at their house.   Guess what they had at the farmer's market? Fresh Figs! Fancy California figs.  Fancy because, well, isn't everything a little fancier on vacation? 

Fig enjoyment
Next we head over to the Haight-Ashbury district. We mostly walk down Haight St but meander on some side streets as well.  Funky place.  We are up for some coffee, so stop into Cafe Cole on Cole St, the mural below was across the street.

636 Cole St, AKA the Charles Manson house

Grateful Dead House, from 1965-1968.  710 Ashbury St. 

Funkiness that was this entire neighborhood

Haight St.

Next up, Golden Gate Park!  

Alcatraz off in the distance

Fort Point below Golden Gate Bridge.  Fort Point is a cool place to visit as well, did it with my fam years back. Not this trip. 

In Golden Gate Park.  I think a Hobbit lives here. 

View of the city, over the edge of the Presidio and Crissy Field. 

Final view of the bridge.

 After a break at the hotel, finally time for some baseball!!

AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants

The marine layer approaches in the distance! 

It's been a good decade to be an SF Giants fan

View from our seats

Now down to business.  The plan was to sample a variety of things throughout the game. First up, Crazy Crab'z! One sandwich is actually two sandwiches.   It's sourdough bread (we are in San Francisco so what else would it be), with tomato and tons of Dungeness Crab, all pressed and toasted with tons of butter.  The line was quite long, and it's located way out behind outfield, but WORTH IT.  Very good. 

Crazy Crab'z sandwich.  So good. 

We watched the game some more, which was starting to not be so much fun because the Giants were getting stomped by the Milwaukee Brewers. Spoiler Alert, the Brewers won 7-1. 

I spot Lou Seal! 

Pablo Sandoval, the "Panda", up to bat! 
Alright, on to the next course.  I had already become a big fan of Poke', and guess what they have at the Giant stadium? Yes poke'.  Authentic Hawaiian poke none-the-less.  

This traditional ahi tuna poke' was from Da Poke' Man.  If you are in SF but not at a Giants game, he has a food truck as well, and go find it.  Great poke'!  

We did have great views from our seats! 

The final of our 3-course ballpark meal was more traditional. Nachos. Nothing gourmet or too fancy here, just good ole nachos piled high.  Well I did pick the steak nachos, but other than that, nothing fancy. 

We had a great time at the game, had some great food, and enjoyed San Francisco a lot.  This was our 2nd time in SF and I'm sure we will be back.  So much natural beauty but also have the big city fun stuff and tasty eats as well.   Until next time!