I like to say I was born with a stainless steel thumb - my culinary equivalent of the green thumb - and that's a lucky thing for me since my passion in life is food and cooking, and everything that comes a long with it.
What do I do with my life? I dream food, think food, look at food, read about food, work in the food business, travel via food, talk about food, use food as my artistic muse, teach others about food, and clearly, cook, play with and EAT food!
Food is my compass.
There are many a dish that could be considered perfect for
summer – the epitome of summer no less.
With all the great
ingredients we have, how could there not be a plethora!? To choose just one as
the standout would be culinary blasphemy, I think. But I would like to say that the following should at least
be up there in the ranks, considering the ingredients that go in. And it only tastes better at the height
of summer! Simple, easy, and sadly, often overlooked. Gazpacho! First of all, it’s a fun word to say. Second,
there are so many variations on this that it’s unbelievable. It’s like the Italian mama’s ragu –
everyone has something different, but all are equally delicious. You can make it with fruit, spicy it up
a bit, puree it until it achieves a velvety texture, or leave it rustic and
chunky. This following recipe is a
standard gazpacho. Nothing
fancy, no mussing it up. Just
straight forward ingredients combined to knock your socks off. And perfect for vegetarians, vegans,
and raw foodists alike! (As long as you leave the scrimps off ‘namean.)
Overall though, gazpacho is a very traditional dish,
originating from Andalusia in Spain - it's thought to be of Moorish/Arabic origin. Standard peasant food. Originally, gazpacho didn't contain any tomatoes or peppers, but thanks to our buddy Chris Columbus, these were finally added post exploration. Clearly, this dish has been around for ages - and for good reason! It’s delicious! Perfectly
refreshing, and healthy for a hot summer day. You can take it as an entrée, or a nice little pre-meal
shooter. Either way, you’ll be
if that's not a beautiful tomato, I don't know what is!
This, by the way, is my mother’s recipe. It’s pretty epic.
2 English cucumbers
2 bell peppers
4 plum tomatoes, or the equivalent
1 sweet onion (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
~3 cups vegetable juice (fresh, V8, whatevs)
2 T olive oil
! T red wine vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh ground pepper
Optional: 1 jalapeno, minced (for heat!)
Greek yogurt/sour cream/crème fraiche
Roughly chop the first four vegetables into about a one inch
dice. Next, place each vegetable
(separately) into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Make sure
not to over-process. It’s
important to not pulse EVERYTHING together just for the ultimate texture and
look of the dish.
Combine all in a large bowl, and mix in the garlic,
jalapeno, vinegars, lime, vegetable juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well, taste for seasoning, cover,
and chill. The longer it rests,
the better it tastes – although it tastes delicious immediately as well!
When ready to plate, you can either create an assembly line
for guests, or do it yourself. I
like to place a small dollop of Greek yogurt on top, followed by some sliced
avocados, a touch of olive oil, and fresh ground pepper. If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll add a
few grilled shrimp. Epic!
So simple, yet so delicious. The extra step up processing everything separately really does make a difference in this soup - so don't skip it! All of the flavors come together from letting it sit together, but somehow the separate processing procedure allows each ingredient to shine through. In future batches, an addition of a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce could add some nice smokiness and heat - I may just have to try that out! Overall, a great summer dish that is sure to please everyone!