Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Aug 21, 2012

Spiked Gazpacho

Libations used: 1/4 cup tequila
Libations left over: Make yourself my Children of the Sun Cocktail - it's a spicy, smoky margarita...
Even though I get some lovely ocean breezes in Santa Monica,  it's still pretty sweltering right now.  I've had zero desire to turn on the stove or the oven, and I just want to eat a lot of popsicles and drink cocktails.  But it's important to actually eat something, lushes.  After this Sunday's market, I brought home an armful of big, yellow pineapple heirloom tomatoes to make gazpacho.  It's the perfect dish to prepare during those hot days of summer when there's an abundance of tomatoes at the market or in your neighbor's garden.  Tasting Table had recently come out with a recipe that gave suggestions for variations on fruit and veggies to use, as well as vinegars, citrus juice and booze to add.  They included champagne on that list, but I thought tequila would be a better substitute, because don't you just crave a margarita with your gazpacho?  I left out the bread in my recipe, but feel free to add a hunk to thicken the soup up.  I just used a couple large pieces of fresh, rustic sourdough to dip in the soup and topped it with some goat cheese.
Spiked Gazpacho - serves 8
  • 3 lbs of ripe red or yellow tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded (feel free to add more if you like it spicier)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I used 2)
  • 1/4 cup tequila (I used Patrón)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 2x2 inch piece rustic bread (optional) or 1/2 cup Marcona almonds (optional) for thickening
  • Garnish options - goat cheese crumbles, ricotta, olive tapenade, salsa verde, pan-fried prosciutto, cooked shellfish.  In other words, get creative!
- Combine all the ingredients, except for the bread, almonds and garnish in a big bowl.
- Let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour or covered in the fridge overnight.
- Add the mixture into a blender in batches and blend until smooth.  If you like it chunkier, reserve 1 cup of the mixture and add it to the smooth soup, pulsing briefly.  This is where you can also add in the bread or almonds to thicken.
- Put in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Add garnishes and serve with more bread and that margarita...