I swear this isn’t a travel blog. It’s a website to share recipes. I feel that each recipe has a story, and that’s why recent posts (plus this one now) have focused on tours to other destinations. I don’t think this site would be as entertaining to read (it is entertaining isn’t it?) if I simply posted a recipe and left you to it. Where’s the history? Where’s the inspiration?? Where’s the point? And lately I’ve been motivated to share recipes pertaining to recent trips.
So yet again, another post dedicated to a voyage away from my hometown. Last weekend I went to Edmonton (yes – exotic local, I know) to attend Wicked with my sister-in-law who lives in St. Albert. I have been looking forward to this since February, when I found out the Wicked Tour would be making a 19-day pit stop in Edmonton. I read the book a few years ago, and have been enchanted by Elphaba and her story ever since. There will be no spoilers here, suffice to say I am endeared to Elphaba’s veiled empathy and beauty. The show was very different from the book. However, it was enjoyable, and great to see another perspective on this amazing story of the Wicked Witch of the West.
When I got home, I was inspired to pay homage to Elphaba. It’s not easy being green – for a human, or a meal. First of all, green dishes tend to be unappealing to most children. Broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts…the list goes on with green things kids just won’t eat. Actually, come to think of it, I know a lot of adults who won’t eat these things. (Note: I loved nearly all veggies growing up. I was some sort of childhood anomaly – choosing broccoli and dip over a slice of pumpkin pie) On top of being unappetizing to people, some green food is sometimes just awful on the eyes. Take pea soup as an example. One of my favourites (again…anomaly) – it has tons of salty taste from leftover ham, but it looks like a bowl of baby poo. (Yup, I said it right here folks)
I had to make something that was wonderful and beautiful – just like Elphaba. The only problem was that it’s been a bit too hot in the ‘ol apartment to do any sort of cooking. So, what’s my go-to summer meal when it’s burning up inside my home? Gazpacho! This stuff is great – you can whip up a huge batch and store it in the fridge to be eaten throughout the week for lunch, dinner, snacks, whenever the desire to fuel up and cool down hits you. I learned about gazpacho when I was very young, while visiting an auntie who lives in Sherwood Park, AB. Every summer she would make batches of the cold veggie soup for everyone to enjoy on hot prairie days. Her recipe is still my favourite gazpacho come July and August. Gazpacho may not be everyone’s cup of soup, but it’s one I’ve grown up loving.
Now to make it green.
Alright. So this isn’t what typical gazpacho would be. It’s lacking the tomatoes – the usual base for a gazpacho. So I suppose one could just call this “Green Cold Blended Veggies” but does that really sound that appetizing? I looked for green tomatoes, but alas, those are lacking in our produce section. So this “gazpacho” has a cucumber base, making it extremely refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Add as much or as little of the jalepeno pepper as you like. I enjoy my cold soups “hot” with peppers.
2 cups English cucumber, peeled, seeded & roughly chopped (about 1 large)
2 celery heart ribs, roughly chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped (+ more for garnish)
1/2 cup green pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 cup green onion (scallion), roughly chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp chives, chopped (+ more for garnish)
1 – 2 Tbsp jalepeno, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lime zest
2 Tbsp lime juice (about 1-2 limes)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until nearly smooth. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper, vinegar if desired. Chill until ready to serve.
To serve: ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped avocado and chives, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. You can actually garnish this with any vegetables you would like – we just happen to prefer avocados.
Note: if you want a silky smooth consistency, strain the soup with a fine mesh strainer (and maybe even a cheesecloth). I don’t mind mine having a bit of texture to it, so I leave it as is.