Thursday, August 8, 2013

OH GAZ!!



Well, I spoke to soon.  A few days ago I was yammering on about how much I loved the cooler weather we've been experiencing on the east coast and, wham, just like an uninvited dinner guest with bad breath and uncontrollable gas, it's baaaackkkk!  The steamy heat has arrived once again in our neighborhood...just in time for me to sneak in a trip to the west coast...so to chill out, I love to make my favorite cold soup!  If you think I just wrote about this take a CHILL PILL and make some soup!
TAKE A CHILL PILL:
I like to serve Gazpacho as a meal or an appetizer (smaller portions I usually put in a fun cocktail glass, while meal servings get a fun garnish like avocado).  The recipes for Gazpacho are plenty, but this one from Cooks Illustrated is one of my favorites and incredibly easy!  While the ingredients might seem plenty, most likely you've got a lot sitting around your pantry.  Apply a cold compress to your neck, and get started.  Here's what you'll need:
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into cubes
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into pieces
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 small sweet onion or two large shallots, minced (to make about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
5 cups tomato juice
1 tsp hot sauce (if you like it spicy)
8 ice cubes
THEN...
1.) Combine tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onion, vinegar, garlic and two teaspoons salt in large (at least 4 quart) bowl and season with pepper to taste.  Let stand until vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato juice, hot sauce (if desired) and ice cubes.  Cover tightly and refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
2.) Remove and discard unmelted ice cubes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve cold, drizzling each portion with olive oil and topping with garnish (I love to use sliced avocado).