Jul 8, 2010

Beat The Heat - Gazpacho

Summer took its time to arrive but now it's hot in Seattle. Today we are under a heat advisory. Unusually high heat and humidity. We're not alone. Much of the country is suffering from the heat this week. 91 degrees might not be hot for the East Coast but it is for Seattle where most people and many businesses do not have air conditioning. We do, however, have a nice basement and we'll be down there as soon as we get home from work.

Time to break out the chilled soups. A simple gazpacho is quick to make. Always light and refreshing. There are countless variations on the theme of blended raw vegetables so feel free to experiment. The basic idea remains the same - blend raw veggies and serve chilled.

Here is a simple version you can prepare in minutes. Alter the quantities to your liking.

3 cups vegetable juice or tomato juice
2-3 seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes (peel them too if you prefer)
2-3 tbsp vinegar (I've used balsamic, white wine, red wine)
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped (roasted pepper would be really yummy)
1 cup peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Blend it all to the consistency you prefer. Or hold some of the chopped veggies back and add them to the blended soup for added texture. Hey, don't blend any of it. Summer is not the season to constrain yourself. Experiment. Wing it. A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice would brighten it. A few dashes of hot sauce would kick it up a notch. A garnish of freshly chopped cilantro, chives, parsley would be nice.

It will taste better the next day.

Note: store in a non-reactive, non-metal container.

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