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Watermelon Gazpacho

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Watermelon Gazpacho

Why doesn't everything work like in the movies?
Why strangers on the subway, instead of just looking at you, don't start talking telling you you have a beautiful smile? Why after thirty years, in a downtown café, you'll never find the person you fought for? And why mothers are struggling to understand their children, and fathers are struggling to accept them? Why is the right phrase always coming up at the wrong time? Why don't you ever find yourself running in the rain, arriving at someone's front door, getting them out, apologizing and starting talking nonsense, to find yourselves lips to lips and hear you say, 'It doesn't matter, the important thing is that you're here'? Why don't you ever get woken up at night by a voice on the phone saying, 'I've never forgotten you'?
If we were braver, more irrational, more combative, more whimsical, more secure, and if we were less proud, less shameful, less fragile, I'm sure we shouldn't have to pay any movie ticket to watch people doing and saying what we don't have the courage to express; to watch people loving as we fail to do; to watch people who represent us; to watch people who, pretending, are able to be more honest than us.

~ David Grossman, Someone to run with

The summer I'd like. It's all enclosed in his own words here.
I just have to give you a little bit of this sweet, pink freshness.

Watermelon Gazpacho - Ingredients

Watermelon Gazpacho*
for 5-6 people

fresh basil 1 big bunch
cloves 4
star anise 2
bay leaf 1
sugar 40 gr
water 350 ml
watermelon, cleaned and seeded 1 kg
cucumber, peeled 200 gr
ripe vine tomatoes 2
lime 2
fresh chili pepper 1 small
salt, pepper, olive oil to taste

*I adapted the recipe from Bon Appétit, and from all the imaginary summers, past, present and future.

Put the water in a saucepan along with basil leaves, spices, sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil; turn off, cover and let steep at least 20 minutes. Strain the liquid and allow to cool completely.
Peel the tomatoes by dipping them for a minute in boiling water, cut into pieces removing the seeds, and let cool.
In a blender place chopped watermelon, cucumber, peeled tomatoes, lime juice, seeded chili pepper, basil syrup, salt and pepper and process until the gazpacho is smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and add more lime juice, if needed.
Serve cold, in a glass if you'd like, and garnish each one with a drizzle of olive oil and a few basil leaves.


Blueberry Pie

Sunday, July 7, 2013
Blueberry Pie

Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen.
~ Amy Winehouse

Soon I'd turn 30; my hair was long and smooth like silk, I had white skin and the deep, black voice of soul. At my side I had talent, youth, a bit of money and success: an ironic cocktail that would not grant me happiness; that thing called life, thrown in my hands by chance, I felt it on me as hard and heavy as a stone. To the public I was singing of love, betrayal and jealousy, but inside I was chasing a single dream of peace; and I was drowning, swept adrift by my own thoughts, choked with anguish, shame and misery of life; to remain afloat, I sought comfort in chemical clouds and emptied bottles of vodka, starting from scratch every day to defy my will and play poker with my brain.
I sensed myself that I, too, would join that cursed club of the 27's of rock: Jimi and Janis, Kurt and now me; young, angry angels, coward murderers of dreams, united by the invisible thread of our silly illusions, an irrational boredom of life that grew together with success, victims of a dark soul that asked our body for revenge. From life I could have had it all: an almost kind god had given me feline eyes and lips of a star, whispering in my ear the sweet secrets of blues; but in return I paid him with the confusion of being, a solitude without horizon, and that twisted, fragile anger.


Yet, life, I had really loved it, when, as a kid, I used to run down the street chasing my feet and the smell in the air; when Gramma used to talk about Frank, and on Sunday for lunch we'd go to Brook's, Alex and I sharing a slice of blueberry pie, my little corner of paradise not yet washed down by alcohol; and the first guitar, what a dream!, at 13 it was a fairy tale with no poison. In my life I wanted to be a woman, a wife and then a mother, I wanted to stay forever at his side, me and Blake strolling serene on any given day.
I had learned to offer emotions to people, but I couldn't look my father and mother in the eyes anymore; the darkness rising from inside devoured me every day more, leaving room only to fears and goblins of glass. To my father and mother I now ask for forgiveness, for having seen me wasted, for having found me disturbed, intoxicated with suffering, for having to bear the blame forever.
Inside me I had no labels: I was not a star, I was not a singer, a rebel, an angel or a rejection, I was neither a junkie nor an alcoholic. Inside me I was just a woman, curled up in my agony and passed away too quickly. I was just one among many. But me, the words that I wrote and sang to the clouds will forever save my face.

Amy Winehouse
9/14/1983 - 7/23/2011

Blueberry Pie Dish & Plate
Blueberry Pie*
for a round pie dish of 9" diameter

For the dough
flour 315 gr
cold butter 225 gr
sugar 1 teaspoon
salt 1 teaspoon
cold water 120-180 ml

For the filling
fresh blueberries 1 kg
lemon 1
sugar 125 gr
corn starch 35 gr
egg 1
butter as needed

Blueberry Pie on Plates
*I adapted the recipe from her, the unbeatable, extra blonde, Martha Stewart. In particular, I'd like to recommend everyone the recipe of her pie crust: it's flaky as hell.
Please excuse me and M.S. if we aren't veg today.

For the dough, mix flour, sugar and salt. Add butter, cut in pieces and very cold, and work quickly with a spatula until you get big crumbs. Add cold water gradually and knead until you get a smooth ball and not too sticky. In order to get a flaky crust, there must remain visible pieces of butter in the dough: which is why you shouldn't work it very long nor warm it up too much.
Divide the dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and let stand in refrigerator at least 2 hours.

Blueberry Pie Filling

Meanwhile, rinse blueberries and mix them with the grated lemon zest, one tablespoon of lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch. Crush about 1/4 of the filling with your hands or with a fork and set aside.
Dust the work surface and the rolling pin with plenty of flour, roll out the dough into two discs and place one of them into a deep pie pan, leaving a border of about 1/2 inch. Fill the base with blueberries, piling them a little more in the middle, sprinkle a few flakes of butter on top, and then cover with the second disc of dough. Seal the edge crushing it slightly with your hands, etch the surface with 5 or 6 concentric cuts, brush with the egg, beaten, and keep in the fridge at least half an hour before baking.
Bake at 380 for 20 minutes, lower the oven to 350 and continue baking for another 40 minutes, until the surface of the pie is golden. Serve warm.

Blueberry Pie