food trends are funny. like, why every so often - and all at the same time - do a bunch of magazines and websites start yapping about red sea salt, dulce de leche, or some piece of the pig everyone forgot about? does a grand gourmand from on high decree, "this will be the spring of garlic scapes," or "the summer of chervil?" more and more, it's as if the modern gourmet culture mimics the fickle nature of the fashion industry. and even though i know the fashion industry is a heap of tripe, meant to keep wealthy people spending, i kind of love it. same goes, probably without saying, for the food industry.
so earlier this summer, as i thumbed through glossies, passing by countless "five things to do with fresh tomatoes" articles (crazy right? like: slice, salt, pepper, eat, done.) and food porn centerfolds of sticky, juicy, BBQ, i noticed a trend emerging. white gazpacho - a chilled soup made with soggy bread, almonds, green grapes and cucumbers - was everywhere, from the new york times to vegetarian times to even oprah, matron to the masses. word has it, when oprah announces a trend or endorses a product, it truly has blown up. so it seems for white gazpacho, a slightly unsettling dish at first thought. i mean, to many diners, cold soup is already a bit of a hard sell, and usually what does sell it is vibrant, beautiful color and velvety texture. white gazpacho flaunts neither of these qualities, and furthermore, must live up to the superstar name of Gazpacho that it bears. i kind of just rolled my eyes and decided to let it past.
however, imagine my surprise when i stumbled across yet another white gazpacho recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, hot knives. if you haven't perused its virtual pages yet, i strongly suggest you put an hour aside and immerse yourself in this blog. the LA authors, evan and alex, have an easy, witty writing style, vegetarian diets, super creative ideas, and beer & music pairings for all of their recipes (cheese & music pairings for the beers they sample and review). what's not to love?
so now more intrigued than ever, i decided to bite the bullet. lauren and i had just been given a big ass bag of almonds from our mom (almonds feature heavily in this gazpacho and man, are they expensive), i bought some green grapes which i'd ordinarily never do, fired up the food processor and gave the soup of the summer a whirl.
no need to copy the whole recipe here, and let's give credit where it's due:
Grape Chowder on Hot Knives
i may have skimped a bit on the cucumber, and certainly did not let it chill for as long as suggested, but overall the outcome was good. while slightly gritty in texture and confusing in taste, it was not unpleasant either. in fact, it was a rich-but-still-refreshing little number that made a sophisticated starter for the tacos that followed. you know, i may even make it again next summer, after all the hype has died down, and the fanatical foodies are on to the next thing.
the tacos that followed were standard, but awesome. i'm glad the soup wasn't the only dish, as it was not hearty enough to count as dinner. the tacos filling was simply fried spicy tofu, black beans, homemade salsa, avocado and cilantro. two slightly fancy details were a splash of tequila in the salsa, and the addition of day old coffee to the black beans as they simmered. who knows, maybe "caffeinated beans," will be 2010's next hot thing.