Gazpacho to the Rescue

The heat this week continues. It’s been hot, in the 90s by day, slightly cooler, though still warm at night. Howard’s fixed up a complicated system of fans that has kept the house reasonably comfortable. In the evenings, we’ve gone out to do errands, driving around in the convertible with the top down. What a life!

I’m still trying to avoid heating up the kitchen, but going out to eat is never quite as satisfying as eating at home.

A bowl of gazpacho is just the right thing for this kind of weather. No cooking required. I’m sure my recipe is far from authentic, but it hits the spot. I’ve making it since I was in high school though I’ve changed it over time.

One of the problems with gazpacho is that, here in New England, local tomatoes aren’t ripe as early as the hot weather sets in. A few years ago, in a recipe from a flyer I picked up at Whole Foods, I found an answer to that problem – canned whole tomatoes. Admittedly, it’s not the same as fresh tomatoes, but it certainly gives an early summer option for consistently good cold soup.

Here’s my game plan: In the morning, before I leave for work, I puree the tomatoes and seasonings in the blender. Then I put the puree in the refrigerator to chill for the day. When I get home, I chop up the vegetables, stir them in to the puree, and, voila, refreshing soup for dinner.

Serves 4

1 28-oz can whole tomatoes with juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp Tabasco
Generous handful of fresh basil leaves
1 cucumber
1 red or green pepper
½ cup chopped red onion
Salt & pepper to taste

Add tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, Tabasco and herbs in the blender. Puree until smooth. At this point, you can chill the puree before continuing.

Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. Chop the remaining flesh into ¼-inch cubes. Cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds, Chop into ¼-inch cubes.

Combine the chopped vegetables (cucumber, pepper, and onion) into the tomato puree. Season to taste.

For a Mexican-flavored variation, I user lime juice instead of vinegar, ½ diced jalapeno for the Tabasco, cilantro for the basil leaves, and 2-3 sliced scallions for the onions.


Posted on 8 July 2010, in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Speaking of cucumber and hot weather reminds me – the most common solution for a really warm day here is a big bowl of yogurt (watered down a bit to bring it to the consistency of a thick tomato soup) with fresh cucumbers diced into little cubes, a pinch of salt, and garnished with finely chopped corriander leaves. Makes for a great post-meal drink or with your rotis and chapatis :)

    Btw, the summer on this side of the world ended quite some time ago – it’s all rain, clouds and winds these days. :)

    • I didn’t realize it was so wet in Bangalore right now. I was thinking it must be just as hot, or hotter, than it is here.

      The cucumber and yogurt drink sounds lovely. I will try that and let you know how it works out!

  2. Yeah, a lot of people assume that about the weather. Actually, Bangalore used to be something of a little hill station where people came for vacations, the greenery, and academics for the universities. It used to be cold through the year, except peak summer when temperatures would climb up to the high 60s or mid 70s :)
    But of course, that was more than a couple of decades ago. Bangalore has retained some of the old weather, though :)

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