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Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Gazpacho

I find soup to be one of the most comforting and satisfying dishes out there.  Even in the midst of these intense heat waves, I still can't help but crave a good bowl of soup.

I had this recipe in mind since the first series of 90 degree-plus days back in May, and finally got a chance to execute it last weekend.  With bundles of fresh herbs, veggies and a lovely challah loaf from the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, I found this to be an extraordinarily satisfying lunch or dinner on a too-hot day.  I enjoyed my bowl with a spoonful of organic sour cream, but (vegans) feel free to omit this.

Summer Gazpacho
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 small ( or 1 1/2 cups) red onions, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced cucumbers (I like the added crunch of baby cucumbers)
  • 1 sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and pepper chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • many cranks of a white pepper grinder (to taste)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped
  • chopped avocado, sour cream, and challah loaf for garnish.
1) Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute briefly (no more than two minutes, you still want the onions to be crunchy).
2) Add the vegetable broth, stir and remove heat.
3) Finely chop one or two tomatoes and add to the pot.  Puree the remaining tomatoes and stir them into the pot as well.
4) Stir in the cucumber, sweet pepper, and jalapenos.  Add the cumin and paprika, then salt and pepper to taste.  Do not under-salt.
5) Squeeze the lime into the mix, then add the basil.  Stir well and chill for at least an hour.
6) Serve chilled, ladled into bowls and garnished with more basil, chopped avocado, sour cream, and pieces of a challah loaf.

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