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  • Cold Soup – Gazpacho

    Gazpacho

    Ambushed again by the green grocer. But, it is hot, and it is late spring, early summer.. Now I have some lovely tomatoes, cucumbers, all sorts of herbs, garlic, red onion, citrus and a flavored olive oil the owners wife made for me to try. Sounds like I am making Gazpacho.

    Background

    Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalucía. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its refreshing qualities.

    The soup has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar. Once in Spain became a part of Andalucian cuisine, particularly Seville, stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. Tomato was added to the recipe after it was brought to Europe after the Columbian Exchange which began in 1492. The dish remained popular with field hands as a way to cool off during the summer, and to use available ingredients (fresh vegetables and stale bread).

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  • Ragu a Rustica

    It’s summer, it’s hot, and I do not want to cook anything on top of the stove.. But I have such a wonderful slow cooker, maybe I can try that to make a hearty, tasty, pasta sauce.

    Background
    A sausage sandwich is a sandwich containing cooked sausage. Outside the United Kingdom, it generally consists of an oblong bread roll such as a bagette or ciabatta roll, and sliced or whole links of sausage, such as hot or sweet Italian sausage, Popular toppings include mustard, peppers, onions, and tomato sauce.

    If I take that concept, chop everything roughly (“a rustica”), then simmer ever so slowly in in my slow cooker, with a tomatoes and lots of fresh basil from the market, I would have a pasta sauce fit for a king.

    Bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. In Italian cuisine, it is customarily used to dress “tagliatelle al ragù” and to prepare “lasagne alla bolognese”. In the absence of tagliatelle, it can also be used with other broad, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine, or with short tube shapes, such as rigatoni or penne. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a complex sauce which involves slow cooking using a variety of techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped meat (generally bovine, including beef, and possibly pork, such as pancetta), wine and a small amount of tomato concentrate.

    The earliest documented recipe of an Italian meat-based sauce (ragù) served with pasta comes from late 18th century Imola, near Bologna. In 1891 Pellegrino Artusi first published a recipe for a meat sauce characterized as being “bolognese”. While many traditional variations do exist, in 1982 the Italian Academy of Cuisine registered a recipe for authentic ragù alla bolognese with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce (incorporating some fresh pancetta and a little milk). In Italy, ragù alla bolognese is often referred to simply as ragù.

    Outside Italy, Bolognese sauce often refers to a tomato-based sauce to which mince (beef or pork) has been added; such sauces typically bear little resemblance to ragù alla bolognese. Whereas in Italy ragù is not used with spaghetti, so-called spaghetti bolognese has become a popular dish in many other parts of the world.

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  • Healthy Sports Drink

    Thanks to Bryan Wells for the lovely graphic

    As spoken prior:

    Three days of 85+ heat, three days of rushing from client to client, on the street and in the heat, with a #50 pack. I am close to collapse from the heat, and all my joints and muscles are giving me cramps. I know I need food, it is so hot, but I really want something other than cold soups, cold cuts, and ice cream.

    When working in this type of environment hydration therapy is KEY to avoiding heat related illness, but as a former boss of mine discovered, water does NOT contain all the necessary items to avoid these illnesses. Various companies have made large amounts of money in providing garishly colored drinks that provide some salt and a hideous amount of sugar. Perhaps we can do a little better than that.

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