Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recipe: Gazpacho with Cold Grilled Cheese

Here is a recipe from the beer and food pairing that I did at the Only Cafe a week ago.

What is it? 
Aside from being a poor artist's rendition, mine, of a sandwich sitting atop of a cappuccino cup, it was a roasted gazpacho served with a speck and Jarlsberg cheese sandwich that paired with Creemore's Altbier.

Why did you choose this?
My grandmother used to drink lager and tomato juice. Altbier is a lagered ale and I thought that would be a good play. Fabian from the Only and I decided that we would structure the tastes like a mini meal and so soup would be the first course. The Only doesn't have a kitchen so all food would have to be cold or room temperature. So cold soup and sandwich it was. 

A little afraid of the cold grilled cheese sandwich, especially after finding out it was a thing on the urban dictionary, but still went ahead with it because who doesn't like tomato soup and grilled cheese.

Why this tasting?
Creemore's altbier is pretty balanced. Many altbiers play up the maltiness but this one has a nice balance of bitterness and malt. When it was tried with a traditional gazpacho, the soup didn't hold up to the malt and it tasted watery so I roasted most of the vegetables and added a little raw tomato to retain the fresh flavour. 

The bread was made with the beer and when tasting it alone, it brought out a lot of bitterness. So, added some salt in the form of speck and when eaten with the roasted tomatoes, it provided a balanced dish that mimicked the beer.

So, what is the recipe?

Take 1 pint of tomatoes, couple red peppers, 2 - 4 poblanos or jalapenos and roast them. I took a hand blender and got it chopped so there was still a little bit of chunks like a fine salsa. Added half pint of raw tomatoes and 1 English cucumber or 2 garden cucumbers. Added 2 tbsp sherry vinegar. Blitzed it again. Put it in the fridge overnight then tasted. Added salt and balsamic vinegar to achieve desired taste. This recipe made around 8 cups. Of course, this is one variation, there are so many more... Hmm, maybe this would make a good post for How to Read a Recipe.

Beer Bread
Modified a recipe that I found in Leiths Baking Bible. It was on p.514. So, about that copyright... It is a standard recipe where I substituted brown ale for the altbier and then split the wholemeal flour into Red Fife wheat and rye. 

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Really? So, I got some speck, Jarlsberg cheese and the bread. Made a grilled cheese and chilled it. Brought it to room temp to serve. The slight nuttiness of the cheese accented the bread and the nuttiness in the beer. It worked.

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