Too Darn Hot

gazpacho-bowlIt is at least 88 degrees outside and we just couldn’t deal with hot food tonight.

We also went out for a big, Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant we’ve been wanting to try. It was great and we all ate too much.

So, for dinner, the request was Gazpacho. Love it. I cleaned off the outdoor furniture so that we could eat al fresco. It feels like summer.

tomatoes-preptomatoes-choppedcuke-prepcuke-chopped

I’m on a roll with the Barefoot Contessa, lately. Ina Garten’s recipes are always good. They are well tested. I have yet to have one flop. Each recipe that I’ve tried has been just as billed.

The Gazpacho recipe in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina Garten’s first book, is dog-eared and stained in my copy. I’ve made a few adjustments to it for our family’s taste. For instance, I can’t ever add as much raw garlic as almost any recipe calls for (unless it gets cooked along the way). Garlic affects some people – it stays with them. I am one of those people. J doesn’t like too much red pepper and this recipe is long on red pepper. I keep some aside, if anyone wants more red pepper.

L remarked that the soup looks just like salsa (pico de gallo). She is right. A little wetter that most salsas, but the vegetables are cut in a similar size. The biggest difference is no lime juice and no cilantro. And, while I gladly eat a bowl of gazpacho, I can’t imagine eating a whole bowl of salsa!

I also used the last of the fresh tomato juice that I had in the freezer from when G, SA and I canned tomatoes last August. It is phenominal. Since it was unsalted, I added a little extra salt to the recipe (which I did not note below).

onions-preponions-choppedpeppers-preppeppers-chopped

Tonight, I halved the recipe in the book, because it is just 4 of us. A half a recipe serves 4-6, generously. We’ll have some bread or maybe some pita pizzas that I can make in the toaster-oven. We need to keep the house cool. It is just too darn hot.

Gazpacho
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten
serves 4-6, generously

4 plum tomatoes, cored
1 English Cucumber, seeded but not peeled
1/2 red pepper, seeded
1 medium sized red onion
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
4 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, more to taste

Cut tomato, cucumber, and red pepper into 1-inch pieces. Process each, individually, in a food processor until chopped, medium fine (a few pulses is enough). After you process each, add to a big bowl.

Chop the onion into 1-inch pieces. Process as above, but after you process the onion, scrap it into a strainer. Rinse the onion, in the strainer, in a bowl of cold water. This will take some of the very raw, overwhelming, taste of the onion away. Strain the onion, pressing on it to remove excess water. Add to the big bowl with the tomato, cucumber and red pepper.

Press the garlic through a garlic press, directly into the bowl with the vegetables.

Add the remaining ingredients to the big bowl and give it a good stir. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Chill until ready to serve.

Note: Some great additions to this soup are: poached shrimp, crabmeat, and avocado. I’ve even had gazpacho, at a resort hotel, in a coconut shell with a little coconut milk, a little cilantro and some shrimp. Good stuff. Maybe I should try to make that version….

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