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Gazpacho & Breadsticks

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Breadsticks and bread were already in the "oven". Their aromas were filling up all corners of the house and I was like a little kid checking on them every half an hour to see if they were ready to eat. Be ready for your home to smell at least as lovely as your favorite bakery that you walk into on a Saturday morning when the crisp, baked-to-perfection pastries and rolls, etc. are just taken out of the oven. I promise I'll post the bread recipe next. So much rain and gloomy skies (and my lack of lighting) make it a bit difficult to take pictures so if you're inpatient, talk to Mother Nature and put in an order for some sunshine in the Bay Area, thanks! While it's been pretty chilly lately, last weekend's temperatures still allowed for some cold soup. As I said, breadsticks were already in the making and I had to make something to eat them with, right? So I did, and here are the recipes.
Back in August, when I was in Barcelona, I couldn't get enough of the tomato based veggie soup, Gazpacho. I just love that stuff. In a bowl, a cup, out of a bottle, served up any way I'll have it all. I've experimented with it over that past few months and it's really fun to change it up with different herbs added. Here are the approximate proportions for the version I love the most:

(Serves maybe 2)
2 large tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 small carrot
1/4 red bell pepper 
1 green onion / chunk of onion
1 clove of garlic (optional)
1 stalk celery
salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cup water

*Add some berbere (typical Ethiopian spice mix) to turn up the heat on this savory bowl of blended veggies.
Blend all the ingredients until you get the smoothest juice-like soup, just as it's served traditionally.
Alternative: I sometimes run the blender for a shorter period and let the soup stay somewhat chunky. I told you I like to experiment with it and I really like it with the rougher texture too. Good for days when you feel like chewing ; )
Pour the soup into serving bowls, drizzle some olive oil on top and offer breadsticks (recipe follows) or crackers/chips with it. Oh so good.

1 cup buckwheat groats*
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup flax seeds 
  2 stalks green onion
1 stalk fresh spring garlic / 1 clove garlic
 splash of olive oil
 ~ ½ tsp (or more) salt
basil, oregano to taste

*The buckwheat groats need to be soaked overnight and then sprouted for a day. Then, you can use the "buckwheaties" to make the breadsticks....so plan ahead!
Process all of the ingredients until they're evenly mixed. Taste test your mixture, add more herbs, salt, other ingredients, if needed, and process a little longer, then spread it out about half an inch (1.2-1.5 cm) thick on a teflex sheet. Score it to get sticks of the desired width and dehydrate at 115 ˚F (46˚C) for a couple of ours before flipping it onto a screen and dehydrating it 1-3 hours longer. Dehydration times depend on so many things so just keep checking on the sticks or if you're away don't worry because leaving them in there for a couple of hours longer will not hurt them. It will at least keep them warm. They're the best fresh out of the "oven"! These are great with salads and to take them along for a snack at work/school or when you're on the road, so you might wanna make an extra batch or too. The truth is, you'll probably end up with half as much as what you put in the dehydrator, especially if you have a big family and many walk by the "oven" every now and then. Good luck and enjoy! : )

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