Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on $10/day.
This is my second month participating in the Secret Recipe Club and, oh boy, is it fun (and also humbling). This month I got Apron Strings. Formerly Fab Frugal Food, this mother daughter team was separated at birth and has only somewhat recently become reacquainted largely through, well, food of course. As if that's not interesting enough, the food they create is just so lovely. In fact, I like the blog so much that I have composed a poem in their honor:
Ode to Donna and Anne
Ode to Donna and Anne,
Of whom I've become a big fan.
They make amazing food from varied (sometimes odd) ingredients,
Which, for a cheapskate, is very expedient.
I do hope they'll forgive me for the meter in the 3rd line.
And now, on to gazpacho. It's always intrigued and frightened me--a cold soup made with vegetables, vegetables that are usually thrown into the food processor no less. And yet, when I perused (perose, pereesed, have perisen) the first page of their blog, they had not one, but 3 gazpacho recipes. In this one, they promised a sweet factor. I think we all know that I can't resist a sweet factor. That, along with the fact, that I had a watermelon begging for some love, is what I call fate.
I made it and had a bowl. Then I had another bowl. And another. It was so good. And it was the type of food that leaves your body craving more in a wholesome way--like a really good friend.
Just a note on combining watermelon, feta, and a bunch of vegetables. Okay, it's a little unusual (and perhaps just the slightest bit odd that I chose this non-traditional gazpacho to start with on my road to gazpacho-land). But have faith. And follow the recipe. And do not, under any circumstances omit the feta because it gives it that something something that just makes it right to add half a watermelon to a bunch of pureed vegetables.
Watermelon Gazpacho with Feta
taken from apronstringsblog.com
Serves: 8-12 moderate human beings
Prep time: 15 minutes
(1/2 watermelon: 1.40, cucumber: .50, onion: .05, cilantro: .05, lime: .45; tomato juice: .30, feta: 1.00)
Note on cucumber: If you've only got seeded watermelons, just cut it long-ways in half or quarters and scoop or scrape out the seeds.
8 C watermelon cubes
1 large English or seedless cucumber, chopped
1/2 C diced red onion (I used only half, and that worked for me)
1/2 C diced cilantro
juice and zest of one lime (I'm guessing if you've got lime juice in your fridge, that will do, though the zest is nice)
Dash of cayenne pepper sauce (I used a very wimpy dash of cayenne pepper--I can't help it; I didn't grow up in the west)
1 C tomato juice (I used generic and all was well)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Dash sugar if watermelon not sweet enough (mine was already sweet)
Put half of watermelon, cucumber, and all of the onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. Pour into serving bowl.
Place remaining ingredients in food processor or blender and process till it hits the small chunky stage. (I used a blender. Mine is un-fancy enough that I am perfectly capable of making chunky stuff in it; if you've got a super nice one that obliterates all food put therein, maybe you should go with the food processor.)
Stir in half the feta.
Taste and add salt, pepper, or sugar as needed.
Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining feta. (Don't skimp.)
I had leftovers the next day. They were good too, though not as quintessential as the day-of soup.
Also, I made it again later in the week, but my kids (motto: smells like ketchup, must taste good) had drunk all my tomato juice, so I subbed some roma tomatoes. It was still good, but not snark it down good. I think the tomato juice adds some more potent tomato-y-ness as well as some salt that does this recipe good. My point: follow their recipe (minus a bit of onion if you're that type); it's great.