Tag Archives: gazpacho

You Say Tomahto…

Summer Tomatoes = Love

Summer Tomatoes = Love

I am finally able to post the Summer Gazpacho Soup recipe here for you.

After yesterday’s debacle, I found myself unable to sleep last night. I think I finally nodded off around 2 am, only to awaken again at 5. It was not the best way to start the day. However, I am pleased to report my caffeine induced nightmare is behind me and although somewhat sleep deprived, I am no worse for wear. I did refrain from coffee today though, and I am heeding my father in-law’s advice and having some red wine tonight!

Tomorrow’s post will take me down memory lane, and I’ll be writing about my early thoughts of food and how the comfort of familiar dishes can get us all through some bleak moments. For now, let us continue to enjoy the present and all its great summer flavors.

Mise en place for Gazpacho

Mise en place for Gazpacho

The key to this recipe is using the most gorgeous summer vegetables and herbs. Since this soup is cold and never cooked over heat where flavors can meld and intensify, I recommend you store this soup in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. This batch improved greatly after a couple days of chill time.

Also, feel free to substitute cilantro for either parsley, basil or dill if you prefer. The vinegars can be traded out as well, balsamic or red wine, sherry or apple cider. I do find the acid of a Spanish Sherry Wine Vinegar is just perfect for this dish but honestly, use what’s in your pantry! As for the chile; if you like it, use it. If your palate is sensitive to heat, the soup will be lovely without it.

This is a peasant and rustic soup which is why I didn’t strain the finished product. I actually quite like the bits and flecks of color and textures swimming in my bowl. Also I figured the fiber alone from all the vegetables warrant leaving it as is.

Thanks to my brother and sister in-law’s lovely birthday gift this year, I whipped up this soup in 10 minutes flat. Cuisinarts and food loving family rule!

Chillin’ Summer Gazpacho Makes about 8 cups

Let your food processor do the work for you – a large rough chop of all vegetables are fine.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 english cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small or 1/2 large spanish onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar, or vinegar of your choice
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Sixty Seconds to Soup

Sixty Seconds to Soup

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in food processor and mix until smooth and blended. Taste for seasoning. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 24 hours, up to 5 days. Adjust seasoning as needed before serving.

If desired, finish each bowl with a spoon of plain yogurt, some sliced avocado and chopped chives or your favorite herbs.

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Please Pass the Coffee

Dirk and I have had the same coffee maker, a Phillips Senseo for the past 7 years. Sunday morning it started making this sad slow grinding noise, its motor strained and tired. After several attempts to restart the machine, our beloved Senseo was gone.

Finding a replacement machine has proved challenging, so we are without a coffee source in our home and office at the moment. This is not a good thing.

My first solution was to drag out our camping ‘coffee maker’ which is sort of like a french press, but with an aluminum container instead of glass. The coffee gets spooned in first, boiling water goes in, and the plastic top is fitted with a ‘plunger’. Wait a few minutes, press down on the cap to trap the grounds and voilà! You have coffee.

Just. Say. No.

Just. Say. No.

Bitter, grainy, sludgy coffee. Somehow I remember it tasting better out in the wilderness, but this brew was horrid. Since it was Sunday, we went out for breakfast and got our caffeine fix with our eggs.

Yesterday morning we held out as long as we could before heading up the hill to a proper coffee house, bringing two lattes back to the office.

This morning we tried tea at home, but it wasn’t working. I. Needed. Coffee.

I got in the car and minutes later returned with two double lattes. Much better. About an hour later, Dirk was in need of more java so off he went, returning with an Americano for me.

Bad idea.

One double latte + one large espresso drink = one jacked up Kitty. And not in a good way. I felt sick, edgy, I couldn’t sit still and my hands were shaking; I was on the verge of losing it, seriously. Only after several hours, a proper lunch and endless glasses of water am I starting to feel like I don’t want to jump out of my skin. I would compare it to a bad coke binge. Honestly, it was that awful.

Time to chill.

Soup's On!

Speaking of lunch, today we sampled my Summer Gazpacho and both of us gave it a thumbs up. Paired with some crusty bread, a little Spanish Ham and local grapes, it was a lovely meal indeed; a perfect respite from my crazy morning.

Tomorrow I will post the recipe for the soup. I love its simplicity. Toss all the ingredients into a food processor, refrigerate for a day or so, and you’ve got a tasty meal. I think the leftovers will make a repeat performance for Thursday’s lunch.

But a repeat of this morning? No thanks, I think I’ll pass.

Tomato Blight? I Think Not.

blight |blīt|nouna plant disease, esp. one caused by fungi such as mildews, rusts, and smuts : the vines suffered blight and disease | [with adj. ] potato blight.informal anything that causes a plant disease or interferes with the healthy growth of a plant.[in sing. ] a thing that spoils or damages something : her remorse could be a blight on that happiness.

Several weeks ago I read online about this season’s tomato blight which was affecting most of the nation, limiting availability and driving up the price. This gave me fair concern, as I am a lover of all things that are tomatoes.

I’m not talking about the red things in the produce department of many groceries stores which try and pass for tomatoes. They are a disgrace. Usually sprayed within an inch of their lives to ward off insects and disease, they are then picked before they even start to think about ripening. (Yes, tomatoes do have thoughts. I am sure of it). Add insult to injury, they spend a considerable amount of time in trucks, planes and trains, many of the tomatoes coming from Canada this year.

Canada? Excuse me, but blight or no blight, the food industry honestly doesn’t have any U.S. sources for tomatoes? Oh please. Nothing against Canada, really. I just don’t want to eat their tomatoes.

This was only one of dozens of tomato stalls!

This was only one of dozens of tomato stalls!

Okay sorry, I got side tracked there for a second. Let’s go back to our tragic tomato’s travels. During their many miles of travel and usually long after, they get thrown into refrigerated storage which makes me all kinds of crazy. Ever see some decent looking tomatoes at the store and think, wow! A real tomato! Only to get it home, slice it up, and realize the delicate flesh has been desecrated to a mealy texture and consistency? Yep, thank the chill factor for that.

So imagine my glee when I arrived at at our local Farmer’s Market this past Saturday. Tomato Central people! Heirloom varietals, cherry, pear and tear drop tomatoes, green, yellow, orange, striped, even purple tomatoes! Organic in nature, never sprayed, never air chilled, all grown locally.

I will eat the small ones just like candy, popping one glorious jewel at a time into my mouth, no cutlery needed. The heirloom tomatoes need nothing more than a sharp knife, a sprinkling of sea salt, some herbs if you wish, a few drops of quality oil or vinegar, and you have a dish to remember long after the season of tomatoes has passed.

I want you... in my belly!

I want you all. In my belly!

I even came across a stall that were selling a hefty amount of ruby gems for $1.00 per pound. Yes, one dollar a pound. Why were they so cheap? Oh, because they were ripe. Seriously, I am not making this up. They weren’t a fancy hybrid, they didn’t have stripes, but they were perfectly red and smelled like a hot, summer day. I brought them home with me, and they will soon be transformed into a refreshing Cold Gazpacho Soup, perfect for a lunch or light supper during this blistering heat we continue to have.

If my recipe is a success (fingers crossed), I’ll post it tomorrow. I just hope you are lucky enough to have a source for some great tomatoes. If not, don’t waste your time or money. Those of you who are growing your own, rock on folks.

May the blight not be with you.