It may be cooling off significantly where you are, but here in the Los Angeles area, it's still hovering around 100ºF (almost 40ºC), which means, I'm not turning on my oven or cooking long, hot meals over the cooktop.
Instead, I decided to try a recipe for gazpacho, which my friend, Joyce, recently sent me. A couple of weeks ago, Joyce and my friend, Gail, were both astonished when they found out I'd never tasted gazpacho. So with this seemingly never-ending hot weather, I decided it was the perfect time to try this no-cook, chilled soup. It's extremely simple, and so healthy, that it will definitely be on the rotation of summer meals while this weather continues. Joyce explained that all of the vegetables can be pureed into the tomato base for a creamy version, if so desired. I think I will try this the next time I make it, just to see which way I prefer the soup.
I slightly altered Joyce's recipe because I had fresh, homegrown tomatoes on hand, and didn't want to buy canned tomato juice, and I also added salt. Please feel free to add or delete the ingredients you don't like, or want to have more of, as once again, this is not a recipe which needs to be followed strictly.
CHUNKY GAZPACHO SOUP
slightly adapted from Joyce Hughes' recipe
serves 4 to 6
1 quart of chilled tomato juice (I blended tomatoes and added some water)
1 large tomato
1 large cucumber, or 3 or 4 small Persian cucumbers
1 green pepper
1 white onion (I used a sweet Vidalia)
3 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (I love vinegar, so I added more)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Kosher salt
Tabasco sauce to taste
black pepper to taste
Optional to serve: avocado, sour cream, garlic croutons or cooked shrimp-as desired
Chop the tomato, cucumber, green pepper, and onion by hand or in a food processor.
Place the chopped veggies in a bowl, with the minced garlic, then add the vinegar, olive oil, salt, tabasco, and black pepper to taste.
Stir well, cover and refrigerate for about an hour to chill.
Serve with any of the desired suggested toppings, or simply a slice or two of green pepper.
For those of you lucky enough to be enjoying some cooler weather,
here are some hot soups to enjoy~