Thursday, August 23, 2007

cooking in Spain

probably the most important rules in the Spanish kitchen are - - never give a recipe with precise measurements or instructions, and never follow a given recipe exactly. Most recipes I get from Spanish women tend to go a bit like this:
"oh! it's easy! all you have to do is measure 3 cup-fulls of flour
('what size cup?' I ask - - 'oh, you know, just one of the water glasses from your cupboard')
and mix in a few eggs
('how many?' I ask - - 'well, it depends on the size of the egg')
and 8 heaping spoonfuls of sugar, half of an envelope of baking powder, some salt and some lemon rind. beat it all together and stick it in the oven
('what temperature?' I ask - - 'oh, whatever - - a medium-high heat, I guess')" . . . and I don't even bother to ask how long - - I know that I just have to keep an eye on it until it looks "right"

bearing that in mind, here is one of our favorite summertime Spanish recipes (gazpacho!) - - based loosely on a loosely given recipe from a Spanish friend!

4-5 tomatoes - - washed;the riper the better!
1/2 onion
1 small cucumber - - peeled and seeded
1-2 garlic cloves
1 (or less) green bell pepper - - washed and seeded
give it all a good chop (feed the insides of the cucumber to any interested bystanders)

season with:
extra virgin olive oil (oh, maybe 2T)
a lemon or two (or vinegar if you prefer)
salt (1, maybe 2 teaspoons)

lure the interested bystander to blend it all together (I use my Malachai and my oh-so-Spanish blender stick, but certainly, you could use a blender or a food processor) until it is very smooth; I like it best chilled for at least a few hours before we eat it.

so there you have it! let me know if you give it a go - - and what you think (I never would have tried a cold soup recipe before coming to Spain!) AND, of course, what you changed in the recipe to make it your own!


Kasey said...

Mmmmm...I love gazpacho! I'm not much of a cook, but that seems pretty easy (especially given that you don't actually cook it)and I have most of the ingredients in my garden. I think I'll try it in the next day or two. Thanks Naomi!

Naomi said...

I know, I thought about it after I posted - - that my entry really wasn't appropriately titled with "cooking" . . . (unless, I guess, you blanch the tomatoes)
oh my, I wish I was there to try your real garden gazpacho. your garden inspires me!

Anonymous said...


I remember how much Malchai loved the gazpacho you made while I visited you in Spain. I'm sure he enjoys if even more since he helped make it. I never thought I would like cold soup; however it was really refreshing.

Thanks for keeping us up to date on your lives in Spain with pictures and sharing.

We pray your Home Church is going well.



darcie said...

So, we're giving it a try here in Syracuse in July! Nathaniel requested gazpacho and Abi had assembled all the ingredients. I whipped up your recipe this afternoon and now we're waiting for it to chill-the taste test earned an A+.
Thinking about you and missing you all.

Naomi Smith said...

let Abi and Nathaniel know that it tastes even better when you eat it IN Spain!

Anonymous said...

making it today, for my dad who arrives shortly! Thank you for sharing. Hope you and your beautiful family are well - - xxoo, Sarah Jackson (sister-in-law to Abi and Nathaniel)