Monday, July 23, 2007

Citrus Gazpacho ala Cafe Pasqual's

Oh, do I have a recipe for you. What's more summery than a cool bowl of gazpacho? One day soon I'll post my other, traditional recipe for gazpacho, but this one has a citrus twist. And it's easier, actually, than the regular one.

Here's the scoop. Some years ago, on one of the trips I've made to Santa Fe, we were a group of 10-12 people on a culinary tour. There were four of us (all gals from Southern California, as it happened) who just hit it off and tried to squeeze in as much fun as possible, in between the spectacular meals, museums, galleries, etc. the tour visited. And we had some really fabulous meals. But eating at Cafe Pasqual's isn't something for a group. The restaurant is too small. And maybe they don't work with groups, even though ours was only about 12 people altogether. So our leader recommended we all go there for some other meal. But if any of you have been there, you know there's nearly always a line outside the door waiting for a table. Their website says they do take reservations now, for dinner. That would help. They didn't take them at the time I was there, this particular trip.

Katherine Kagel owns Cafe Pasqual's, and she's made a real name for herself with nouvelle Southwestern food. She takes mostly old New Mexican favorites, everything from enchiladas, to stews, to desserts, and gives them her unique touch. So far as I know, she's never expanded. It's still the one restaurant, the same, small kitchen they cook in, and the same small dining room. And it's still going strong. She's published two cookbooks. (Can you believe it? I don't own either one of them!) Her first, the earlier book, Cafe Pasqual's Cookbook, was printed in 1993. I went to the library back then and hunted for this recipe. Nope. That's why I didn't buy the book. Plus, we have such good Mexican food here, I rarely cook it myself. I don't know if the recipe is in her newest book. I may have to order it to find out. It's Cooking with Cafe Pasqual's, published in 2006. Address: 121 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

So anyway, the 4 of us sat down - squeezed around a table really meant for 2 people, and ordered. Two of us decided to try the Citrus Gazpacho. Oh my goodness. Was it ever good. I got out a piece of paper and a pen and tried my best to figure out what was in it. We all sampled little sips, dissecting it as much as possible.

Upon returning home, I tried to recreate it. We think it was made with canned juice, probably V-8. You can make your own base if you would like to, but we thought it had a greater density of flavor than just pureed fresh tomatoes and or canned tomato juice. It had a sweet side to it - we picked out that there was some fruit in it, but when I tried to make it at home, it wasn't sweet enough with just the fruit and some of the juice squeezed from the pulp and membranes, so I added the apple juice concentrate. Remember to taste as you make this so you don't add too much concentrate. I did that once, and learned my lesson. We knew what was in the garnish because it was visible, but which kinds of peppers (poblano and serrano?) I couldn't tell. You could substitute other types. Be cautious about the salt. If you want, buy the low salt V-8 and salt up as you like. Regular V-8 contains a lot of sodium.

And if this appeals to you, maybe when YOU visit Santa Fe, you will be lucky to find it on the menu that day (it was the soup of the day, so it's not a regular on the menu) and can figure out what you think is in it! I'm quite happy with the result as it is.

Citrus Gazpacho
Recipe: A Carolyn T original recipe
Servings: 8
46 ounces V-8® vegetable juice
1/2 cup grapefruit sections -- from fresh fruit
1/2 cup orange sections -- from fresh fruit
1/2 whole cucumber -- hothouse, minced
1/2 whole red onions -- minced
1/2 whole red bell pepper -- minced
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper -- minced
4 whole tomatoes -- chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces apple juice, frozen concentrate -- defrosted

1/2 whole green bell pepper -- minced
4 whole scallions -- minced
1 whole serrano pepper -- minced
1 whole poblano chile -- minced
3 dashes white pepper salt to taste (or not at all)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro -- chopped

1. Using a food processor, chop up all the vegetables: cucumber, onions, peppers and tomatoes. If you wish to offer the garnishes in separate bowls, process each of the garnish vegetables separately and refrigerate until ready to serve. In a very large plastic container combine the V-8 juice, the fresh fruit sections (including any juice you can squeeze from the fruit too), cut into small pieces, the food processed vegetables, tomatoes, olive oil. Then add the apple juice concentrate slowly. Do not add it all, but taste the soup for sweetness. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you may not want to add all of the juice concentrate. Allow to chill for several hours or overnight.
2. Scoop out servings into bowls and pass the condiments for people to add as they choose. The soup base will keep for about a week.
NOTES : This is a Carolyn T original. But it is based on what was tasted at Cafe Pasqual's, in Santa Fe, New Mexico about 1990. It's very similar to traditional, Spanish gazpacho, but with citrus overtones. It's a tad on the sweet side with the apple juice concentrate in it.
Per Serving: 152 Calories; 6g Fat (31.0% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 609mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat.

To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

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