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Spanish White Gazpacho Soup

Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold, usually with a tomato base, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and neighbouring Portugal, (spelling gaspacho), particularly during the hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.

Our friend Bev had us over for dinner a while back and served this wonderful WHITE gazpacho. It would make an incredible appetizer before your Easter dinner. Serve it very cold with the slivered almonds as indicated.

Spanish White Gazpacho Soup
Ingredients
6 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed
4 cups water
2 ½ cups (8 ¾ ounces) plus ⅓ cup sliced blanched almonds
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
⅛ teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 ounces seedless green grapes, sliced thin

Instructions Serves 6 to 8
This rich soup is best when served in small portions (about 6 ounces).
1. Combine bread and water in bowl and let soak for 5 minutes. Process 2 1/2 cups almonds in blender until finely ground, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed.
2. Using your hands, remove bread from water, squeeze it lightly, and transfer to blender with almonds. Measure 3 cups soaking water and set aside; transfer remaining soaking water to blender.
3. Add garlic, vinegar, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and cayenne to blender and process until mixture has consistency of cake batter, 30 to 45 seconds. With blender running, add olive oil in thin, steady stream, about 30 seconds. Add reserved soaking water and process for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer set in bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid. Discard solids.
4. Measure 1 tablespoon of soup into second bowl and stir in almond extract. Return 1 teaspoon of extract mixture to soup; discard remainder. Chill for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
5. Heat vegetable oil in 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Add remaining 1/3 cup almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately transfer to bowl and stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.
6. Ladle soup into shallow bowls. Mound an equal amount of grapes in center of each bowl. Sprinkle cooled almonds over soup and drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve immediately.

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French Florentine Cookies

These crunchy chocolate coated cookies are popular in France at Christmas. They were also great when our friend Kathy made them while we were visiting in December.

1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3/4 cup candied orange peel* (see note below)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 T butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips of your choice

Combine almonds, peel and flour. Set aside.
In heavy saucepan combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in floured fruit.
Grease and flour 2 baking sheets. Drop batter by spoonfuls (1 T) at least 3 inches apart,
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool slightly and then remove to cooling rack.

Spread or brush with melted chocolate on the underside of each cookie.
Makes about 24 cookies.

* Since peel isn’t always available, you might want to check the Internet for an easy homemade recipe.

Oat Bars with Banana and Applesauce

Oat Bars with Banana and Applesauce

 3 mashed bananas

1/3 cup applesauce (or mash a slightly cooked peeled apple in the with the bananas)

3 Tablespoons almond butter

2 cups oats

¼ cup almond milk

½ cup dried cranberries (experiment with other dried fruits, i.e. figs, blueberries, etc.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

What the heck, add a few sliced almonds to the top before baking?

Go for it…add some coconut, too!

Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Let cool and slice.

Would also make a great dessert if you slightly heated the bars and then served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Seminole Coleslaw

I am not exactly sure where this recipe comes from, but I remember that I came across it one winter in Florida…thus the name Seminole. Ramen noodles are the kind you often find in those instant oriental soup packages. Just discard the spice packet and use the noodles. If anyone knows the original source, I will gladly give credit for it….

Seminole Coleslaw

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 shredded cabbage
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp. sugar or Splenda
  • 1.5 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 pkg. Ramen noodles without seasonings
  • 1/2 pkg. sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
Assembly:
Shred cabbage. Mix sugar, vinegar and oil, s/p. Add onion, almonds, sunflower seeds and noodles to cabbage. Toss with oil mixture. Refrigerate overnight if possible.

Barefoot in the Sand Cheese Ball – courtesy of Mary Walberg

I have hesitated in sending out this recipe as the McLaren’s cheese is not yet available here in Mexico. Yesterday we found a similar cheese at Superama in the Deli section made by Alouette. It is called Sharp Cheddar and is spreadable! For me it tasted very similar to the McLaren’s! No more need to bring it from Canada as long as they continue to stock it (If you want it you better get it before it is gone).

So here is our friend Mary’s recipe for the upcoming holiday seasons…the name refers to the name of Mary and Weldon’s place here in Mexico…

“BAREFOOT IN THE SAND” CURRIED CHEESE BALL

1 TUB OF McLAREN’S IMPERIAL CHEESE {red tub}

2 PACKAGES OF PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE

RAISINS   ¼ cup (optional)

CHOPPED RED ONION -1/2/ cup

CURRY POWER   —to taste

CHUTNEY {mango ginger}

TOASTED ALMOND SLIVERS

So at room temp blend cheeses together {if you cannot find McLaren’s Imperial cheese use the strongest cheddar cheese you can find and grate}

Add raisins, red onion and curry powder.

Roll in the toasted almond slivers…

Serve with the jar of mango chutney poured over the top of the ball

The best crackers to serve with this ball are the “rice” crackers, which you can find at Superama in Merida!

NOTE: I have made a similar one to this using a third cheese – soft blue cheese. If you like blue cheese, try Mary’s recipe, add a small amount of blue cheese, omitting the raisins, curry and chutney, and roll in chopped walnuts. I usually wrap mine in wax paper until I am ready to use it.

Chocolate Nut Tart

I first made this recipe for a church function which was called “Broadway and Chocolate”. Members of the choir performed Broadway melodies and during several intermissions, you submitted tickets which entitled you to a plate of various chocolate desserts which had been made by the church members. It was a great fundraiser. That was 7 years ago and still this recipe stands the test of time…I just made it today! Served with a very good vanilla ice cream makes it even better.  Keep the slices small as it is quite rich!!!

Chocolate Nut Tart

Makes: One large tart Total Time: 1 hour (can be made ahead)

what you need

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T chilled butter in 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 T whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 c toasted whole almonds (4 oz)
  • 3/4 c hazelnuts (filberts)
  • 3/4 c walnuts
  • 3/4 c light corn syrup
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c melted butter cooled (1/2 stick)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

make it

Cookie Crust – Combine flour and sugar in processor. Cut in the butter using on/off motion. Add whipping cream and vanilla. On/off motion until moist clumps. Add more cream if too dry. Press dough over bottom and up sides of 11″ diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Let stand for 30 minutes. (I think you could also just do  these as bars in a square pan).

Filling -Combine all nuts in food processor. Chop coarsely. Whisk syrup, sugar and butter in large bowl. Add eggs and extracts. Mix in chocolate chips. Add nuts. Transfer into crust.

Bake at 350 degrees about 40-50 minutes.

Magic Pan Orange Almond Salad

Not sure how many of you remember this restaurant, which I remember had locations in Detroit and Toronto? It was always the favorite salad to have with their wonderful crepes. You may have had their famous Chantilly Crepe with whipped cream and bananas! Yummy…

Here is the salad recipe…

Almost Magic Pan Orange Almond Salad

Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • 1 head romaine lettuce
    • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained

DRESSING

    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon, dried
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1 egg yolks

Directions

  1. Shaking constantly, toast almonds in skillet over low heat until golden brown (about 5 minutes).
  2. Wash and dry lettuce.
  3. Tear into bite size pieces.
  4. Place with green onions and mandarin oranges in large salad bowl.
  5. Dressing: Combine all ingredients but egg and vinegar.
  6. Add in thin stream and process till well blended.
  7. Serves 6.
  8. MAKES: 1 cup dressing.
  9. Just before serving, toss well.
  10. Leftover dressing keeps up to 1 week in fridge.