Over the summer, Joe and I had an extended honeymoon in which we traveled to five different European countries including Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Portugal. He used this vacation, and a very special restaurant where we enjoyed a fancy dinner, as inspiration for this challenge.
First, a little bit about the restaurant. It is called Con Gracia and is a former Michelin Star restaurant. The restuarant only does two seatings per night and only seats about 20 people total. When you see the menu you can choose your own courses like in any traditional restaurant OR you can choose the seven course surprise. The choice was obvious – the surprise dining experience for us! And it really was fun to get surprise after surprise brought to the table!
Our first course was chilled tomato water. Below is a picture of the original chilled tomato water at Con Gracia. It was perfectly clear, ice cold, and had just one tiny square of tomato in the bottom.
I’ve never really loved raw tomatoes. I need to cover them with a dressing or cheese to cover the taste. I see it as quite the adult accomplishment when I eat a sandwich without picking off the tomatoes. However, this was so good! So, Joe challenged me to make chilled tomato water.
I began with a variety of fresh ripe tomatoes. I washed them and removed any green or stems.
I blended them until smooth.
I set up a strainer (AKA sifter), dampened some paper towels, and lined it over a bowl. This brought back childhood memories of helping my grandparents strain and clean the fresh cows milk!
I poured in the blended tomatoes and set it aside to drain. This process took quite a bit of time! I left the draining tomatoes for over 6 hours.
All those tomatoes and this is the amount of water I got out of it. Not very much at all.
I chilled the water for about an hour and prepared the drink in a shot glass with a tiny chunk of tomato to attempt replicating the Con Gracia course.
I didn’t get it quite as clear as the original, but it was clearer than I expected. Apparently this is an important skill taught in culinary school.This was a small return on the investments, so I don’t think this is something that I’ll plan to do again. But, it was a fun challenge.
Even though the tomato water was the goal of this challenge, I couldn’t bear to see the blended tomatoes (sans water) go to waste. I added that to the crockpot, cut up more tomatoes (unblended), added diced onion, minced garlic, chicken broth, and a bag of mixed frozen vegetables to it. I let it cook on low for several hours and was able to get a nice tomato based vegetable soup out of the mixture.