Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Recipe: Gazpacho

    (Original recipe, in blue, by Ina Garten and published on

    I like to use this recipe as a base, and double it each time I make it. It's not that much more work for a lot more soup. Who wants to cook much in this heat anyway?! To double it, sometimes I still use one cucumber, but more than double the peppers and tomatoes, or some combination of those ingredients. Next time, I'm going to go heavier on the cukes.

    1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
    I disagree, don't waste the seeds! Any kind of cucumber will do.

    2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded

    I like to mix it up, with yellow or orange along with the red.

    4 plum tomatoes
    Next time, I want to use heirlooms, but all tomatoes work. Get whatever's freshest.

    1 red onion
    I think a whole onion is a whole lotta onion and from now on I'll only do 3/4 of one when doubling. Red onions are so flavorful, but so strong. Get your onion goggles at the ready!

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    The amount of onion or garlic you use depends on your mood, or possibly the company you'll be keeping. After eating gazpacho three days in a row last week, I got very tired of having garlic breath, and I spend most days alone!

    23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)

    If doubling, you likely only need 5. I've noticed the vegetables absorb some of the tomato juice after they soup has sat for a while, but 6 cups seem like too much juice.

    1/4 cup white wine vinegar

    Double to your taste.

    1/4 cup good olive oil

    1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
    Just sprinkle in a little, no need to measure. I prefer to use less salt, more pepper.

    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    No need to measure, just grind it in. Lately I've been using multi-colored pepper in everything.

    Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
    The 1-inch cube part is a little overprecise, just get them chopped, roughly, as best you can. She isn't being hyperbolic with her exclamation point though -- if you want a pureed soup, fine, pulse away, but if you want texture, you gotta watch it.

    After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
    As you process the different vegetables, the bowl you pour them into will begin to look like art. I like to add lime juice as well. It's okay if you don't have time to let it sit. I like to top mine with a little low-fat sour cream and a slice of lime.

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