Tag Archives: Begonia’s Table

Begonia’s Gazpacho

I have been dying for some gazpacho ever since I left Spain (even when I was eating it in Spain I was dying for it).  But I’ve never been able to find a recipe I’m really satisfied with.  After tasting Spain’s glorious gazpachos (Sebastian’s in particular) my doubts were confirmed–none of the gazpacho I was having State-side was cutting it.  First of all, there are no chunks in Spanish gazpacho, it’s always completely smooth-silky even, and very cold.  What was I to do?

It’s silly that I sat in a quandary longer than thirty seconds–ARL has a resident (Basque) Spanish cuisine advisor–Begonia Colomar*!

Begonia was quick to respond to my query about gazpacho.  Over in her adopted home–Brooklyn–she’s making it constantly.  Begonia immediately agreed with my concerns about this American “gazpacho” I’ve been eating–real Spanish gazpacho must be smooth–and it must be cold (Lord knows I love the Pasta Shop but you should have SEEN the stuff they were trying to pass off as gazpacho at their counter today.  It was super chunky and by the color of it, it either had a lot of beets or red food coloring, and they were advertising a dollop of sour cream on top.  Did they get it confused with Borsht?).  Begonia says that in southern Spain she’s often seen people go so far as to put an ice cube in their gazpacho to ensure they coldness.

Below is Begonia’s recipe for gazpacho.  I doubled it and followed it exactly.

Begonia’s Gazpacho (serves two)

2 Anaheim peppers (do not substitute with bell peppers, Anaheims are sweeter, softer and more aromatic)
2-3 large very ripe tomatoes (add them to boiling water for 10 seconds to peel them)
1 large or 2 medium cucumbers
1-2 tbs red wine or sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove
2-3 tbs best quality extra virgin olive oil
salt [Begonia and I both swear by Maldon]

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Mix at high speed until very smooth.  Taste for point of vinegar and salt.  I like my gazpacho very, very smooth, not chunky at all so after blending I pass it through a chinois to achieve that silky, very liquefied texture.  Put it back in the fridge for an hour or freezer for 15 minutes.  Serve very cold.  I like to garnish it with a couple of drops of olive oil, chives, and little pinch of paprika…experiment with the garnishing…parsley, bacon, croutons, tarragon…endless variations.

After receiving the initial instructions, I wrote back with a few questions.  What about bread crumbs?  What about fresh herbs?  Only one clove garlic?

Begonia says:

I don’t use fresh herbs in the puree, but that is my purist soul.  I don’t use bread because it makes it thicker and I personally don’t like it so much.  There are millions of ways to make it.  If you want it a bit more red add one peeled canned tomato.  Also using balsamic vinegar gives a nice taste but I’m not so in to the color that results from it, maybe white balsamic.  Add 1 tbs of vinegar to the initial mix, taste it and add the second one if needed.  Experiment and choose the one you like best.

Also, previous recipes have instructed me to seed the tomatoes and peppers.  Begonia avoids this laborious step by using the chinois.  Also, Begonia told me, and I can confirm this, that the one garlic clove is surely sufficient.

ingredients

I used heirloom tomatoes (very ripe as Begonia advised).  The flavor they produced is incredible, but the peeling process was a bit harder given the deep nooks and crannies.

blender

I don’t own a food processor per se.  I have so little storage space honestly–my toaster is in the closet.  But I bought this Kitchen Aid blender at Williams Sonoma, which has food processing functions.  I pureed, then liquified the ingredients in batches, combined the results in a bowl, and repeated the process.

That produced a fairly smooth texture, but I wanted the silkiness that the gazpacho of Spain has.  I didn’t have a chinois on hand, so I reached for a sieve.  Bad call.  Too fine.  Didn’t work.  So I went out and splurged on a Rosle chinois.  Given my love of gazpacho–if gazpacho is all I use it for it will have been a worthwhile purchase.

The chinois step takes another 5-10 minutes.  The mixture won’t go straight through (those holes are small), so I poured my gazpacho into the chinois and then scraped the sides of it with a rubber spatula to keep the liquid moving.

In the end it was all worth it.

IMG_2603

The final product

I garnished it with olive oil and parsley from the garden.  The texture is super smooth and the taste is fantastic.  Every ingredient is well-represented in each sip.  The color is burnt orange–perhaps a bit on the greener side since some of my tomatoes were green heirlooms.  I love that Begonia takes the color of gazpacho into account in her recipe.

Finally, a serving note.  While I photographed my gazpacho in this pretty beaded glass bowl, since I was having it by myself as a snack I quickly transferred it to a lowball glass and simply drank it down.  I have no patience for a spoon with gazpacho.  Don’t judge–haven’t you ever seen the women drinking gazpacho in Almodovar films?  I rest my case.

*more on Begonia, her art, and her food here, here, here, here, and here.

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Begonia’s Table, Friday May 29, 2009

More from our Basque chef of Brooklyn, Begonia Colomar!

butternut

butternut2

Butternut squash enchiladas with cotija cheese, homemade tomatillo salsa and corn tortilla chips

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Begonia’s Table

Our contributing chef Begonia’s most recent creation:

clams monkfish etc

Steamed clams, gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic), seared monkfish

after

después de la comida

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Otra Vez!

More from Begoña!  Magnifico!

begonia2Chicken a la cazuela, with garlic , olive oil, parsley and vinegar

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La Comida

Veteran readers might remember a series of posts from a few months back featuring the recipes and photographs of the multi-talented Begoña Colomar (click here and here).  Ms. Colomar just sent me this picture, and I thought I would share it with you:

begoniaGrilled Cauliflower with Shallots, raisins, almonds & Chorizo refrito

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Guapissima!

This marks the second in a thrilling series of recipes by Begonia Colomar.  

Gemelli Pasta in Old Fashioned Basque Style Tomato Sauce, Sauteed Beet Leaves, Button Mushrooms, and Chorizo 

Serves 2 (lovers)

Old Fashioned Basque Style Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:  

6 fresh ripe plum tomatoes cut into fourths

1 small yellow onion /chopped

 3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp brown sugar (for this recipe, I recommend the extra sweetness)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp salt, or to taste

Preparation:  

Heat oil, then add onions and cook at medium high heat until clarified and golden.  Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the tomatoes, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil.  After the sauce has reached boiling, reduce the heat to low let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent from sticking.

Sauteed Beet Leaves, Button Mushrooms, and Chorizo

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp raw pine nuts

1 shallot / finely chopped

1 garlic clove / minced

10 button mushrooms / brushed clean and thinly sliced

1 bunch beet greens with stems / well washed and cut roughly into large pieces

3 tbsp olive oil

1 three-inch piece of Spanish chorizo/ halved and cut in thin slices

1  stem fresh thyme

pinch salt

Preparation:

Remove thyme leaves from stem and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Add pine nuts and brown for 10 seconds.  Remove the pine nuts and set aside.  Leave remaining oil in pan.

Reheat the oil over a high flame.  Add shallots and allow to brown for 1 minute.  Add  garlic and cook for one minute, then add mushrooms and saute over high heat for 2 more minutes.  Finally, add chorizo and stir, allowing flavors to mingle for one minute before adding beet greens, salt, and thyme leaves.  Cook until the greens turn dark and reduce in size ( 3 – 5 minutes).

Gemelli

Ingredients:

Gemelli pasta 

1 stem fresh thyme

olive oil

salt

Preparation:

Remove thyme from the stem and set aside.

Bring water to a boil.  Add plenty of salt and a bit of olive oil to the boiling water.  Then add gemelli and boil, until al dente.

Drain well.  Sprinkle with the thyme and a bit of olive oil (this will keep the noodles loose and firm).  Set aside.

To Serve:

Warm a large serving bowl.  Add the gemelli, tomato sauce, toasted pine nuts and green and toss thoroughly.

Sprinkle with fresh Romano or parmigiana cheese and serve immediately.

This is a hearty winter pasta that will pair well with a robust red Merlot or Chianti.

Buono Appetito!

gemelli

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A Real Treat

Begonia Colomar has agreed to contribute her culinary talents to A Rockridge Life.  Ms. Colomar was raised in the Basque country of Spain.  Her nuanced palate, which she cultivated in the Spanish countryside of her childhood, is obvious in the impeccable flavors she is able conjure with fresh, everyday ingredients.  We can’t all sit down at her table each night, but we may now strive to replicate such an experience in our own homes through her thoughtful recipes.  Without further ado, I present Ms. Colomar:

Galloping Flavours: Braised Pork Chop with Saffron Chorizo Orzo and  Onion Marmalade

by Begonia Colomar

Serves 2 (lovers)

Ingredients:  

two 1″ cut  Pork Chops

For the Rub:  

1   tsp  whole coriander

1/2 tsp  whole white pepper

1/4 tsp  whole fenugreek

1/4 tsp  whole cumin

1/2 tsp  smoked paprika

Preparation:  

Bring pork chops to room temp approximately 20 minutes prior to braising.  Generously salt them (Maldon is highly recommended).  Combine the herbs and spices and then grind them.  A spare or carefully cleaned coffee grinder can be used for this purpose.  A mortar and pestle works too but requires more elbow grease.  Pat the pork chops generously on both sides with the herb and spice rub.  Set the pork chops aside and keep at room temperature while preparing the marmalade.  

For the Onion Marmalade:

3 yellow onions /peeled,halved and sliced

1 shallot /peeled,halved and sliced

3 tbsp brown sugar

pinch freshly ground pepper

pinch salt

1/4 tsp dried tarragon

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preparation:

Heat oil and butter in a skillet.  Add the onions, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.  Cook on very high heat while stirring frequently for 5 minutes.  Add tarragon and continue to cook on high heat for an additional 5 minutes.  Do not allow onions to boil or burn. 

For the Orzo:

1 cup orzo

1/2 yellow onion /minced

1/2 leek/minced

1 garlic clove /minced

1/4 tsp Spanish saffron threads

3 cups vegetable stock

3 large whole sage leaves

2 inch cube Spanish chorizo halved and thinly sliced

1 tsp salt

olive oil

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375.

Add a bit of olive oil, just enough to barely coat the pan (approximately 1/2 tbsp) to an oven-proof frying pan. Heat the oil until you see smoke forming.

Add the pork chops and sear 2 minutes per side on high heat.  Cover the pan with an oven-proof lid or tin foil and place in the oven.  Let the pork chops cook in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

While the pork chops are in the oven, heat the oil for the orzo in a medium size pot.  Add onions and leeks and cook on medium high heat until caramel color, then add garlic.  Add the orzo and saffron to the mix and stir constantly for approximately 2 minutes.

Add the stock and salt and let simmer at medium high heat for 10 -12 minutes or until the orzo has absorbed the stock and has a creamy texture. 

While the orzo is cooking remove the pork chops from the oven and let sit, still covered for 5 minutes before serving.

Keep stirring the orzo.  When the stock has been completely absorbed, add the sage and chorizo.  Turn off the heat, and serve the orzo very hot.  

Place the pork chops atop the hot orzo, and spoon the onion marmalade on the side.

This meal will pair deliciously with a full-bodied Chardonnay.

Buen Apetito!!

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