For some reason, I never really connected the Gazpacho- or Cold-Soup-in-general-dot on the culinary map to the “Summer” dot as only point of origin or interest, but to the “travel” dot as well. You guys might have noticed that I do, in fact, post at least one Cold Soup/Gazpacho recipe every Summer. Of course, I mostly make them during this time of the year since they’re basically the most refreshing thing you can have on one of the brutal nights we are experiencing at the moment.
But next to that and being the perfect to-go-lunch for your work-place’s fridge, cold soups are a fail-safe way to keep you going during anything from a long hike to a long car drive during any time of the year. This one, along with it’s delicious accessory, was a true life-saver on our most recent car odyssey heading back home from our “Winter Island” getaway on Sylt in January. Since gas stations over here aren’t exactly famous for edible food, and neither of us is one for lengthy detours on the way from Point A to Point B for the sakes of a quick bite, I always whip up a special Cross-Germany picnic for the rides up and down. This time, our usually so easy breezy trip back down south turned into a seriously bumpy ride when, about halfway through the country, a snowstorm turned the highway though that particular mountain range into nothing short of a death trap with zero range of visibility. Hubby, experienced hero par excellence, safely steered us through the worst and, shortly after we could believe in survival again, to a gas station for a breather. Thanks to some stroke of luck and the car-Tetris we had to go though due to me basically taking my entire kitchen with me (there’s an oven in that apartment, can you blame me~?) the bread I had baked the evening before had snatched a spot on top of a heat vent while the gazpacho was resting just below the frozen back window in the trunk, so we had a well deserved, kind-of backwards roadside lunch of warm, fluffy, fragrant and juicy bread with a side of seriously cold and refreshing Gazpacho.
Now that I’ve made this Gazpacho again during this season’s Hell Week, and found a good deal of satisfaction and relief in the memories of a snowstorm, I realized that I had gathered more than enough reasons to declare this the perfect time to share the recipe for both components (right along with the idea of snow) with you guys~! As Hubby put it “Mmmmmmpf… this one really keeps ya goin’”, so no matter which season you find yourself in, here’s my Energizer Combo for 4:
The Millet, Feta and Chorizo Bread Wreath
300g Wholegrain Wheat Flour – keep some extra flour nearby for the odd dusting and adjustment job
100g Linseed Flour
100g Millet, washed, rinsed, drained
7g/1 Pk Dry Yeast
12g Sourdough Powder
50g Tiger Nut/Earth Almond Flakes – you’ll find these in your trusty organic food store. 30g will go into the dough, 20g are destined to end up as decorative dots on top, so you may want to separate the piles right from the start.
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, very finely chopped
150g Chorizo, finely diced
100g Pine Nuts, lightly toasted
150g Sheepsmilk Feta or Freshly grated Manchego Cheese
¾-1 Tbsp Salt
3 leafy Sprigs of Flatleaf Parsley, finely chopped
2 leafy Sprigs of Rosemary, needles picked and finely chopped
1 ½ – 2 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 ½ -2 Tsp freshly cracked Black Pepper
2 Tsp Pimenton Dulce
1 Tbsp Honey
50-75g Golden Linseeds
50-75g Poppy Seeds
1 Unwaxed Orange, Zest and 200ml of its Juice
250ml Sparkling Water
Coarse Sea or Himalaya Salt
1) Place a wide, heavy-based pan onto low heat, pop on a lid and allow it to heat up for 5 mins.
2) Add the millet seeds and give them the lightest of toasts, just enough to release their essential oils and make their nutty aroma waft up to tickle your nose.
3) Once they’re there, add the olive oil and the garlic and sauté the lot for roundabout 20 mins until the seeds turn tender.
4) Transfer the mixture to a fine sieve wedged across your sink and give it a shake or two to drain off any excess oil.
5) Allow the fragrant mix to cool down to room temperature.
6) In the meantime, sift the flours, starch, yeast, sourdough powder, salt and 30g of the tiger nut into a large mixing bowl.
7) Press a well into the middle of the pile and add the seed & garlic mix along with the spices, herbs, honey, juice and water.
8) Roll up your sleeves and knead the dough with your hands until all ingredients are well combined into a smooth and even dough. It might be a bit on the wet side of all things dough, but don’t worry about that at this point. Just make sure it does actually stay inside the bowl when you try to roll it up into a dough-globe inside the bowl.
9) Cover the bowl with a dry kitchen cloth, set it aside in a warm and safe spot of your kitchen and allow the dough to Rest-and-Rise while the seeds soak up the remaining moisture.
10) Once the time’s up, decide whether you feel like going with a tin-baked loaf or a wreath of buns like I did.
11) Brush your pick, loaf tin or baking tray, with a thin layer of vegetable oil and place the poppy and linseeds in separate bowls.
12) Retrieve your mixing bowl and add the chorizo and cheese – if you’d like, you could put cheese in one and sausage in the other half of the dough and mark the buns with their own type of seed, but personally, I prefer having the best of both worlds in every single bite~
13) Either way, first divide and roll the dough into two evenly-sized logs.
14) Pick up a sharp knife and slice the logs into 8-12 evenly bun-sized portions.
15) Roll them up into balls and turn all of them over in the deco-seeds until they’re nicely dotted all around – one half in the poppy, the other in the linseeds, of course.
16) Neatly tuck the doughlings, alternating “colors”, into your tin or into a circular/wreath shape on your baking tray.
17) Cover them up with a dry kitchen cloth again and allow them to rest and rise for another 30 mins in a warm spot.
18) Preheat your oven to 200°C and, once the temperature is almost there, sprinkle the surface of your bun-bread with a bit of corse salt and the remaining tiger nut flakes.
19) Pop the bread into the oven for 35 mins – apply the usual knock-test and, if it doesn’t sound hollow yet, give it another 5 mins.
20) Serious case of “Do as I say, not as I do” incoming… allow the bread to cool off a bit before digging in… at least enough to keep the cheese from burning your face as you chow down on a first bite of this irresistibly delicious-smelling bread~
The Energizer Gazpacho
Just a quick note before we begin – the almonds used for this need to soak for a couple of hours, so it’s best if you get it started the morning or even the evening before the gig. If you need/want a shortcut, make sure you’ve got an extra supply of chickpeas in your pantry~
400g Baby Spinach
300g Garden Cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
150g Ripe Pineapple, cored, peeled and roughly chopped – high-quality, unsugared tinned ones work just fine in case you’ve pulled the short straw in the allergy game like me~
75g Soft Dried Dates, pitted
50g Almonds, lightly toasted
50g Tinned or Precooked Chickpeas
3 Spring Onions, roughly chopped
Alt: 1 Shallot, skinned and also roughly chopped
2 Fresh Green Jalapenos, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
25g Mint Leaves
20g Parsley Leaves
300ml Chicken Stock
200ml Orange Juice – keep some more close by to adjust the consistency later on
4 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tsp Dry Harissa – if you’re using Harissa Paste instead, add it at the end while taste-testing
2 Tsp Celery Salt
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
1 Generous crack of Black Pepper
Sea Salt and Hot Chilli Flakes to taste
Opt: 1 Ripe Hass Avocado to give the soup more body – I always go this way unless I can’t get my hands on perfectly ripe avocados – if they’re not perfect, they can turn unpleasantly grainy.
Opt: A splash of Lemon Juice for some extra zing
So… I mentioned the “evening-before” bit already, and that’s basically all there is to it…
1) Soak the almonds in the stock overnight or for at least 6 hours in order to make them come out of the blender creamy rather than grainy.
2) Pop everything listed above into the jug of your blender and let it do it’s thing until you’re looking at a perfectly silky soup.
3) Seal the jug or transfer the gazpacho into a sealable container and place it in the fridge to chill for 4-5 hours.
4) Once the flavors had time to develop while the temperature was going down, have a taste and adjust the consistency with more juice or stock before setting your tastebuds into adjust-seasoning-mode if necessary.
5) Wrap it all up picnic-style or plate up when the bell rings food’o’clock and…