While cruising through the cookbook aisle of a bookstore recently, The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger caught my eye. It must've been the orange shirt she's wearing on the cover, not many people can pull that off.
As I thumbed through it, I got really giddy. My [arbitrary] criterion for whether I am allowed to splurge on a cookbook is whether I would want to make at least half of the recipes that I see while flipping through. Well, Notoriously Picky Amy wanted to make every single recipe in this one. Unprecedented! Plus the recipes are all healthy-ish and include nutritional info...bonus!
Obviously, I had to buy it. Imagine my delight when, later that day while poking around online, I found Craving Ellie in my Belly (from here on referred to as CEiMB): a blogging group whose members take turns selecting a recipe from The Food You Crave each week to make and blog about. Count me in!
For my first weekly CEiMB post, the recipe is White Gazpacho with Grapes and Toasted Almonds, hosted by I'll Eat You. Sort of an unusual combo, but since I liked all the ingredients separately, I was intrigued. Put 'em all together in the food processor, and the end result is magical. If you're looking for a unique, refreshing summer soup, this gazpacho is your new best friend.
You can find Craving Ellie in my Belly posts here on Thursdays, and you can join the group or see who else is participating here.
White Gazpacho with Grapes and Toasted Almonds
By Ellie Krieger
Ellie says: A refreshingly updated version of the classic tomato-based cold Spanish soup, this gazpacho starts with a beautiful pale-green cucumber broth, light and cool, with just enough body to give it substance. It surprising garnishes really bring it to life. Chopped scallions, toasted slivered almonds, cucumber chunks, and sweet-tart green grapes add an exciting mix of textures and flavors and keep it all elegantly green and white. This soup has so much visual and taste impact it's perfect for a dinner party where you really want to impress. It is also fun to serve half-portions in martini glasses at a cocktail party.
2 large English cucumbers (or 3 large regular cucumbers), peeled and roughly chopped
3 slices white bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup warm water
3 cloves garlic
6 scallions, whites only, divided
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup green grapes, halved
Set aside 1 cup of chopped cucumber for a garnish. Soak the bread in water until soft, about 2 minutes. Place soaked bread, the rest of the cucumber, garlic, 3 of the scallions, vinegar, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the almonds, salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and process until cucumbers are completely blended and liquid and almonds are almost completely invisible, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and vinegar, if desired.
To serve, ladle 1 cup gazpacho into a bowl. Mound 1/4 cup reserved chopped cucumber, 1 tablespoon scallions, 2 tablespoons grapes and 1 teaspoon almonds in the center of the soup.