Monday, August 10, 2009

It's that time of year...when cucumber and tomatoes abound! I came home the other day to find some really large zucchini and cucumbers gifted to me.....good friends gave me lots of recipe ideas, and one of them was this AMAZING gazpacho recipe. I'm totally hooked. I've made it twice now, and it's just great stuff. The veggies used in the recipe are shown above. As you can see, it's a great way to use a lot of garden vegetables at once...WITHOUT heating up your house by cooking. How brilliant is that?

(Thanks Gina for the great recipe!)

6-7 large, very ripe tomatoes (great way to use tomatoes that are almost too ripe)
2 large cucumbers, peeled
2-3 cloves of garlic (to taste)
half a medium/large onion
day-old crusty baguette or other dense bread--about a 4-inch chunk
olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt to taste

Remove the crusts from your bread and soak in a dish of water.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and remove the seeds (I don't get too worked up over this, though--gazpacho is an easy dish...why make it hard?)
Peel the cucumbers, seed them, and coarsely chop one and one-half, reserving the other half
Peel the garlic
Peel and coarsely chop the garlic

Toss all of the VEGGIES into a blender with a little slosh of olive oil to help emulsify everything, and then puree. You might have to do this in stages if your blender won't hold everything at one time. Once you've got a nice puree add about a tsp or so of the red wine vinegar and blend in well. Then, squeeze the excess water from your bread and puree it into the mix. Salt to taste, then refrigerate until served. The flavors really come into their own several hours later, and IMHO gazpacho is truly at its best the day after (or even that day after that) it's prepared.

You can of course experiment with this recipe as you like, but it's really great as-is. I used a mixture of balsamic and apple cider vinegar, as I didn't have any red wine vinegar. The second time I made this recipe, I added a green pepper, some black pepper, and a wee bit of basil. I like to serve it topped with some homemade sour cream, fresh parsley or cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. YUM!