As a kid, there were two things I hated, tomatoes, and my fifth-grade Math teacher (whose name escapes me. Although I'd be inclined to call her an ill bred, blustering old windbag . . . if I knew what that meant).
Anyway, I have since recovered. And today...I love tomatoes.
I've been guzzling this refreshing liquid salad by the gallon. It's helped get me through a very busy, very hot summer.
This soup has also given me enough fuel to keep up with Thumper, about 15 to 20 MPG.
Your mileage may vary.
I prefer this soup smooth, rather than chunky. Some chefs would probably toque-slap me for pureeing Gazpacho until homogeneous. They would insist I carefully cut several pounds of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, by hand.
Ha Ha. Those wacky culinary experts.
Well, I denounce their rigid ways. And I suggest you do the same. Prepare this soup whichever way you like.
2 pounds Roma tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 cups tomato juice
¼ cup Italian parsley
Juice of one lime
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Topping suggestions: crabmeat (my choice), shrimp, diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, sliced avocados, and the list goes on.
Place all ingredients (except toppings) in a blender, or food processor, and purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, or pitcher, and refrigerate until very cold, 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
By the way, I didn't limit my Gazpacho consumption to the traditional ingredients. I found this dessert-y Gazpacho in a book by a favorite cookbook author, which includes summer berries, as well as a variety of tropical fruits that would make Carmen Miranda chica-chica-boom-chica-boom-boom back to stardom.
Of course, she's no longer with us, but if she were...well, that'd be downright creepy.
Again, I puréed all the ingredients in this soup. Topping each serving with homemade strawberry, kiwi and mango sorbets.
If you want to try making Mango Sorbet here is a really good one from a few years back.
And while I'm not one to over-hype things, I will say that if you try this soup, all your dreams will come true ;-Þ
Exotic Fruit Gazpacho
1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 papaya finely diced
1 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
Fruit sorbet and fresh mint leaves
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Reserve.
Set aside 1/2 pint of the smaller strawberries for garnish and combine the rest with the raspberries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor, fitted with the metal blade.
Purée them until smooth. Strain the mixture into a large (non-aluminum) bowl, and add the reserved sugar syrup and chopped mint. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To serve, dice the reserved strawberries. Ladle soup into 6 shallow soup bowls, then arrange the fruits on top. Place a scoop of sorbet in the center of each bowl and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from: The California Cook, by Dianne Rossen Worthington.
With a nod to Spain and its wonderful cuisine, I'm also including my recipe for a buttery, crumbly cookie, similar to shortbread, called, Polvorones. I think these cookies complement the fruity Gazpacho very well.
And I should confess that, where I'm from, Polvorones are made with lard!
Sorry, I don't normally use that kind of language.
However, you'll be happy to know I broke with tradition by using a combination of butter and shortening.
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dredging
2-¼ cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and butter, the sugar and salt, about 3-5 minutes. Add flour, all at once, and gently blend, just until dough starts to cling together. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. Roll in granulated sugar, and, with your thumb, make a slight indentation in the center. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets 1½-inches apart. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Polvorones should be pale in color
Makes 4½ to 5 dozen cookies.
In other news, Thumper started Middle School this year. No, I will not cry.
But here's a photo of my precious little playmate which pretty much sums up my feelings at the moment...
Let me also take this opportunity to apologize to my foodie brigade, for having disappeared for four months.
There were some health issues within our family, and amid the chaos, our beloved pet Louie passed away. This was two months ago, and I miss him.
This Boston Terrier, will forever remain the most amazing little friend I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and sharing pizza with.
He was so intelligent, I know he could've balanced our checkbook if we let him. But, he was head over heels in love with a Boxer next door, so he couldn't be fully trusted with our finances.
But I know my furry baby is happily gallivanting somewhere up in Heaven with Socks, our tuxedo cat.
Needless to say, these were some of the reasons I hadn't felt motivated to blog, but that's slowly changing. Besides, I've missed you all, and couldn't stand being away much longer.
Here's an older " picture of our gentle coach, "training" Thumper for the 2007 skateboard championship.
Who's a good boy!?!