Whenever I visit my family in California, I try to take advantage of the outdoor grill they have. It’s always entertaining to think of the days before my dad learned to cook — a couple of the stories came up over breakfast this morning. The sloppy joe fiasco, the hilarious lunches he made for Sean and me, and the items that his bachelor fridge was filled with: Trader Joe’s taquitos, Hoffy hot dogs, individual packages of lunch meat, and string cheese.
That was our diet when we visited Dad.
These days, he is quite the chef. His outdoor grill was a pretty good investment. At the moment, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Ridgecrest, California — Dad’s truck had car trouble at the Indian Wells Brewing Company (Dad’s favorite brewery), so Sean and I have been carting the family around in the second car. Thankfully, we decided to take two cars!
While I’d much rather be somewhere in the high Sierras already, taking a moment to edit photos and schedule some blogs is relatively therapeutic.
Anyway, I made this gazpacho before we left for our Eastern Sierra road trip. It should make a good lunch on a lake, while in a canoe. I’m hoping I get to meet some puppies. Or cowboys. That would be nice, too.
Hoping you had a lovely July Fourth holiday!
Roasted Veggie Gazpacho, adapted from Food & Wine
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
1 medium cucumber (the weird cucumber in my photo is a Syrian cucumber from my dad’s garden)
2 green bell pepper
1 medium sweet onion, unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup cold water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wrap your garlic cloves in a piece of aluminum or tin foil. Heat a grill on high, and grill the tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onion, and garlic, turning so that the skin of each piece is completely charred — it should take about 10 to 15 minutes. If you don’t have access to a grill, just use the broiler in your oven, and keep an eye on the vegetable skin. You want them charred.
Set the vegetables in a bowl, and cover with saran wrap to let them steam and cool.
Once you can touch them, peel away and discard the charred skins, and slice the vegetables into chunks that fit into your food processor. Go ahead and pulse grind them until you have a vegetable puree with a consistency that you desire — I wanted a finer ground salsa consistency. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until cool. Serve with salt and pepper, and a good piece of toast.