Friday, July 12, 2019

Summer Soup - Gazpacho

Nothing says summer to me like gazpacho soup! It is super refreshing and bursting with fresh-from-the-garden summer flavours. Though the recipe is reportedly from Andalucía, Spain my introduction to it was at Bohemian Café in the By Ward Market, Ottawa about forty years ago.  The chef - who graciously shared his recipe with me - was of Japanese extraction. Gazpacho soup is one of the few things I can successfully make in the kitchen.  It combines my love of raw veggies, salt and olive oil along with the more exotic and never-fail complements such as basil, oregano, parsley, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice and red wine vinegar. I have not however adopted the Moor influence of adding cumin (apparently an aid to digestion).

While I list crusty bread (and cooked jumbo shrimp) in my recipe on iPhone "Reminders" (where by the way I also keep a Side Car recipe from the Savoy in 1930), those additions are extravagances reserved for the infrequent occasions we entertain. For the most part my culinary ambition is narrower. The object is nutrition not elegance.

To replace the ambrosia of the summer cocktail I have chosen to listen to Alain Lefèvre, Québécois pianist and composer, of whom it has been said, "...sparkling playing resulting in fascinating interpretations".  In particular it is his album entitled "Rive Gauche".  I find it remarkably stirring, uplifting and oddly conceptual.

I have in addition today expiated my perpetual guilt (or what I prefer to acquaint more comically to inherent work ethic) by putting on the nosebag at the golf club this morning (another of those summer rituals which mustn't be ignored) and thereafter - at least that is, after my visit to the chiropractor - going for a modest 8 kilometre bicycle ride along the county road amidst the billowing poplar trees and wavering verdant fields (and - as I recall - a decidedly rich bouquet of manure).

A further adornment of this delightful summer day is my unanticipated dedication to some metaphorical housekeeping, by which I mean cleansing information on my computer.  The effect of the purge is - thanks to Mr. Apple's genius - the universal cleansing of my iPhone and iPad. Though the possibility exists that I may regret having removed one or more pieces of information, for the time being the "down-sizing" affords me a distinct catharsis which if nothing else I consider a corollary of aging (my fall-back excuse for almost everything these days).

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