Meal in the Woods; Gazpacho and Chicken Curry

Diary 2008.8.5

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投稿者:Chan

Team Chan Cafe supplied lunch for the recent forestry management day.

Up until the last minute, I was undecided about whether to make chicken curry or cold bukkake somen noodles.
It was so hot out, what could I offer that would please the noble labourers of the woods, to revive them from their sweat and toil?

On a regular hot day, a spicy curry would be just the thing, but it was hotter than that, so curry…
But it’s hard to make bukkake somen. I’d have to boil it down at the Kaizen Center and try to get it up to the mountain in al dente condition – not an easy task…

Curry or somen, oh I just don’t know.
How about cold somen noodles with chilled chicken curry on top!
Ooh, there are a few foodies out there who might go for it, but I can’t see the rest of them being too pleased…
It would probably get ME into hot water more than anything…

And it was just as I was turning this thought over in my head, when two days before the event I got a huge windfall of tomatoes.
I made them into puree like I always do and as I did so, I realised, “Ooh, I could make gazpacho with this.”

Gazpacho is a chilled tomato and vegetable soup from the Andalucia region in Spain.

Gazpacho. Chill it so it’s good and cold, then float some minced onion or cucumber on top for texture.

Add cucumber, green pepper, and onion to a tomato base, some bread as a binder, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and salt, give it a whizz in the blender and it’s done.

It’s great for providing stamina, and even if you’ve lost your appetite to the heat this soup will help bring it roaring back.
Plus, I can use tomato puree and onions for my chicken curry too.

“OK! First hit them with the gazpacho, follow it up with a North Indian-style chicken curry, then finish it off with a cool, gentle tokoroten for dessert!” My plan was set.

For the curry, you’re only supposed to put chicken in it, but I like it with potatoes and carrots, as well as whatever vegetables I’m looking to use up. This time I had some shishito peppers and zucchini that I french-fried and put on top. Shoyu-marinated cucumbers and pickled eggplant as a garnish and the plate is full to overflowing. Well, as long as it tastes good, that’s what matters.

Both curry and gazpacho can be prepared the day before (and they both benefit from a night’s rest to blend the flavors too) so that took some pressure off. Tokoroten can also be prepared the day before.

With a menu like this, even though I’ve been a right weakling lately, I’d have no trouble pulling it off.

And with that, I had Miru and Sadako at the Kaizen help me out, and we managed to get it done.

Whew!

Cooking food is fun, but thinking up the menu (while difficult) is also pretty fun.
Particularly when making food for forestry management days, there’s the issue of location, and everyone wants something big, easy to eat, and not too many courses, so it really teaches me a lot.

Nikolai, what are you going to make for the August get-together?
It’ll be a bit cooler then, so I think chilled bukkake somen would be alright!

(Oh, I still haven’t learned my lesson…)

This is some cold pasta that I made at home while I was preparing the gazpacho. Gazpacho topped with cappelini. The shiso pesto on top was a nice touch.

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