Summertime Soup Series: Anjo Blanco, A Gluten-Free White Gazpacho

Anjo Blanco

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Anjo Blanco a great summertime soup!

I’m down in Vegas for a while and it is hot hot hot! The last thing I feel like doing is chowing down on hot hearty soups – so I’m on a hunt for some great summertime soups!

I am keeping a total open mind – as I was one of those people who did not fancy cold soups. I think I changed.

This is the first of my many summertime soups I want to try and I have had this particular Anjo Blanco recipe bookmarked since January from a foodie magazine. It is a Spanish version of white gazpacho.

Ladle and garnish

 

The Verdict of Anjo Blanco Soup?

I would have never thought that these particular ingredients would conjure up into a soup! I was a tad sceptic on the output, but kept an open mind because it looked oh so pretty in the magazine. I am impressed of the way it turned out, especially with my modifications turning it into a gluten-free and cows milk-free soup!

The garlic worked well with the sweetness of the apple, grapes and almond milk. The graininess of the bread made me feel like I was eating a hearty soup because I used a medium sieve (not a fine one that was called for in original recipe)…and that was just fine.

My partner in crime, tester of food extrodinaire, liked the texture of the toasted almonds and the zip of the red wine vinegar it gave the soup. He also gave the soup, to his surprise a 4.5 out of 5 for taste. We both agreed that the presentation came out well too and it deserved a 4.5 out of 5.

Would I changed anything? I would perhaps serve this soup in a martini glass, which would allow me to have a choice of sipping on the soup versus spooning it up.

Anjo Blanco Ingredients:

  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
  • 2.5 cups crust-less gluten-free bread
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 blanched almonds
  • 2.5 cups almond milk (I used vanilla flavour which worked, you can also use plain)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • dash salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Anjo Blanco Instructions:

  1. Combine apple, garlic, bread, grapes, blanched almonds, almond milk, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl; season with salt.
  2. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Transfer soup base to a blender (or use immersion blender) and puree, adding water by tablespoonfuls if too thick, until smooth. With motor running gradually add 1/3 cup olive oil and 3 tbsp vinegar.
  4. Strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; cover and chill until very cold, about 2 hours. Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
  5. Toast sliced almonds to a slight brown, let cool.
  6. Ladle soup among bowls; top with toasted almonds: drizzle with oil and vinegar pretty swirls or droplets.
  7. Now go sit out on your summer deck, watch the sunset and enjoy the soup there!

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • Used 2.5 cups of almond milk instead of whole milk & water (but did add some water)
  • Used 1/3 cup of olive oil instead of 3/4 cup
  • Used shaved almonds in the soup base but thin sliced almonds for garnish
  • Used 2.5 cups of my favorite gluten free bread recipe (minus the olives and almonds) instead of 3 cups of white country bread.

Soup Mistress Rating for Anjo Delight:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Raw Almond Cheese – An Easy Peasy Lactose Free Soup Topper

Raw Almond Cheese

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Raw Almond Cheese (blanched almonds, lemon juice, olive oil, water, garlic, salt)

Recently, I picked up a great magazine at Choices: Vegetarian Special Edition – Healing Foods Cookbook. One recipe that caught my attention was the Almond Cheese. I’m always looking for different kind of soup toppers and ones that are casein-free (not cows milk), because I’m sensitive to it.

I was amazed to read how easy this almond cheese recipe sounded. The only thing I thought that may be a show stopper is time. Just like any cheese, you need to give it some planning and love.

So I took a stab at this recipe. I caught myself licking up the inside of the blender – it was so yummy! I personally like it way better in the raw (not baked) – the recipe recommended either way.

Outside of being a superb soup topper for my butternut squash soup, this cheese was used on my toast and on rice crackers with a red pepper jelly. So delish!

This cheese seems very versatile. I want to try it with different kinds of herbs and spices in the near future. Perhaps mixing in chives and using a dollop in a potato soap or with basil in a tomato soup. Both toppings would make either soup so nice and creamy without the cream per se.

When I did add it in my soup, after a few minutes, I found the cheese melted very nicely and was easy to swirl in like any cream product.

I’m definitely going to stock up with blanched almonds in my pantry to make this a lot!

Almond Cheese Ingredients (Raw Recipe):

  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp  cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 – 1/4 tsp salt

Almond Cheese Instructions (Raw Recipe):

  1. Place almonds in medium bowl, and cover with 3 inches water. Let soak 24 hours. Drain, rinse almonds under cold running water, and drain again.
  2. Puree almonds, lemon juice, 3 Tbsp oil, 1/2 cup cold water in food processor 6 minutes, or until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Place strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon almond mixture into cheesecloth. Bring corners and sides of cloth together, and twist around cheese, forming into ball and squeezing to extract moisture. Secure with rubber band. Chill 12 hours. Discard excess liquid.

 

Crusty Olive Almond Gluten-Free Bread A Great Dinner Date For Soups

Gluten-Free Bread

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Crusty Olive Almond Gluten-Free Bread

Ah, rustic bread – I love you so. Nothing beats having some freshly baked rustic bread to dip in a warm comforting homemade soup.

Just over three weeks ago I attended a class at Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store in Langley, BC and was taught how to bake a great gluten-free rustic bread. The course was “Wheat Free Gluten Free with Pastry Chef Tina Bacon”. Gluten-Free, oh my! I must admit that was pessimistic because I have tried many gluten-free breads from either Whole Foods, Donald’s Market or other specialty bakeries, and most seemed very hard, stale and heavy. All to be thrown in the garbage after reaching mid-loaf.

But this recipe has turned me into an optimist with regards to gluten-free breads! I also tried this recipe this past weekend with sun-dried tomatoes and oregano (instead of olives) and my girl friend Char has given it thumbs up!

The Verdict Of Crusty Gluten-Free Bread?
I love cooking but not normally into baking per se. But I am positive that I will make this rustic gluten-free bread in future and with different flavors, herbs / and or spice to go with my soup of the day. This bread recipe is not hard and heavy. It comes out especially nice right out of the oven! Also, I love the fact that you can make the bread dough and keep it in the fridge for 7 days and bake it when needed!

I decided to take Tina Bacon’s recipe and add chopped walnut stuffed olives into the dough and call it Crusty Olive Almond Gluten-Free Bread.

Ingredients For Crusty Olive Almond Gluten-Free Bread:

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 3 cups tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons xanthan gum
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-2/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 12 almond stuffed large olives, chopped

Instructions Crusty Olive Almond Gluten-Free Bread:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and honey. Whisk in warm water that is approx 110°F –  120°F.
  3. With a wooden spoon gradually add flour, stirring after each addition.
  4. Stir in chopped almond stuffed olives.
  5. Loosely cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest about 2 hours on counter.
  6. Wrap bowl airtight and refrigerate minimum 2 hours and up to 7 days.
  7. When ready to bake a loaf, line a pizza pan or baking sheet with parchment. Cut off about 1/4 of the dough and with wet hands quickly shape into an oval.
  8. Place on the prepared pan and smooth surface with your fingers.
  9. Loosely cover with plastic and allow to rest 90 minutes. It won’t rise much.
  10. After one hour of resting preheat oven to 450F.
  11. Just before baking use a sharp knife to cut 1/4″ deep slashes diagonally across loaf.
  12. Slide loaf with parchment onto the oven rack and bake for about 35 minutes until golden brown and firm.
  13. Transfer to a rack to cool before slicing.
  14. Serve with a nice bowl of soup! (BTW – Tomato soup will go well with this Olive Almond Rustic Bread.)