Chilled Spanish White Gazpacho

With my second year of residency coming to a close, and the beginning of my third year rapidly approaching at a heart arrhythmia inducing pace, I have not had much time to delve into the world of Flour, Too (see my last post on the book signing I attended with Joanne Chang).   However, as I was trying to think of a light and easy dinner to make last week, I recalled seeing this recipe and adding it to my mental list of “Things I want to cook/bake soon”.

My love of gazpacho began in Sevilla, Spain when I was studying abroad for a semester my junior year of college.  Gazpacho orginated in the South of Spain (possibly via Arab or Roman influences) and is traditionally thought of as a cold, tomato-based, vegetable soup.  My host mom made a delecious gazpacho and even gave me some cooking lessons on how to make it  (although my attempts to replicate it at home have been slightly dissapointing).

This white gazpacho from Flour, Too is a modern, sweeter take on the classic.   Grapes and cucumbers make up the flavor base in place of tomatoes and instead of the stale bread of the traditional recipe, this soup uses blanched almonds.   The result is a refreshing summer soup that can be whipped up in minutes!  I did add my own touch with a garnish of crispy shallots (from Barefoot Contessa).  While optional, I highly recommend these for a great flavor and texture contrast to the sweet soup.  Buen Provecho!

Chilled Spanish White Gazpacho (from Flour, Too by Joanne Chang)
serves 4-6

2 lb seedless green grapes, stemmed
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
2 garlic cloves
6 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
3 tbsp good-quality sherry vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 English cucumbers, peeled and cut crosswise into 1-to 2- inch pieces
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1-2 tbsp for finishing
crispy shallots (optional)

Working in batches, combine the grapes, almonds, garlic, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice, and salt in the blender or food processor and pulse until the almonds and garlic are chopped but not too finely.  Add the cucumbers and pulse again until the cucumbers are blended.  Do not overblend, you want the soup to have some texture.  Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, stir in the olive oil.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to chill the soup and allow the flavors to blend.  (Taste and add more salt as needed.)  Ladle into bowls and drizzle each with about 1 tsp olive oil before serving.  You may also garnish with crispy shallots if desired.  The soup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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Sticky Bun Cupcakes!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with Flour bakery and their cookbook (btw- the new Flour cookbook, Flour, Too, comes out in June!). I have made countless recipes from the Flour cookbook such as the muffins, maple scones, oreos, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, carrot cake, etc. but by far the favorite is always the sticky buns. What makes these so amazing, is the delicious “goo” that they are topped with. At some point in the past month, while likely getting yelled at in the operating room, I went to my “happy place” and came up with the brilliant idea to make a frosting out of the “goo” and hence “the sticky bun cupcake” was born. I finally had the time on my vacation to try them out, and aside from the fact that they may cause an instant heart attack, they were quite delicious.

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