Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer non-cooking

Summer has finally made its way to Vancouver! And with its arrival, my drive to cook has somewhat vanished. Today was the hottest day we've had so far, and I figured a nice, cool meal was in order.

summer supper
No summer meal is complete without a gin&tonic, am I right?

The fruit salad is cantaloupe, mint and lime juice and was super tasty (and took all of 5 minutes to make).

Honestly, if you're looking for a low maintenance, lazy meal to make, gazpacho ain't it. But I had never made it, and once I get an idea in my head for a meal I gotta do it - and I'm glad I did! It was delicious.

I used this recipe as a guideline. Today was the Main St farmer's market so I picked up some heirloom tomatoes, red pepper and cucumber and used up some green onions and garlic I had in my csa produce box. Throw in some basil from my windowsill, and it was quite the local soup ;)

5-6 medium to large sized tomatoes
1 long English cucumber, peeled seeded and chopped
1 red sweet red pepper, peeled and chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Two handfuls good bread (I used baguette), torn into pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Olive oil
Red wine or sherry vinegar
Pinch of cumin

1. Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze the seeds and as much liquid as you can out, into a bowl.
2. Strain the tomato liquid to get rid of the seeds and reserve.
3. Chop up your tomatoes and put into a glass bowl along with the reserved tomato liquid and all the rest of your ingredients - except one tablespoon of basil.
*For the olive oil and vinegar I didn't measure, just but in enough to coat everything. If I had to guess I'd say 3-4 tablespoons of oil and 1-2 tablespoons on vinegar.
**I added a little water to the bread before mixing it in, probably 2 tablespoons or so
4. Let mixture sit at room temperature for an hour
5. Puree mixture in batches in a food processor or blender. Add a little water each time to get to a nice, soupy consistency. I used about one cup of water in total. Strain puree through a sieve - really push down on the solids to get out as much liquid as possible.
6.Add the remaining basil, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

From what I've read, gazpacho really is best to eat as soon as possible, since the tastiness of it comes from the freshness of the ingredients. This seems like a recipe that would be really fun to play around with too - adding different fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, oregano) and a jalapeno or other chili would definitely work. You also could skip the straining part if you wanted a chunkier soup, or reserve some of the chopped veggies and add them in after pureeing.
I can see myself definitely making this again this summer - I think it would be a great thing to bring for a potluck or bbq.


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