August 16, 2015

Crunchy, Zippy Gazpacho for a Hot Summer Day

I really don't know where the summer is going! But then maybe I say this every year? It just seems like time is flying by!

So with the heat we've had lately, we've also had a lot of thunder-boomers come rolling through town. And because I was hot, and tired of worrying about whether we'd have power or not, (one storm we had already knocked the power out of the lighthouse around the corner from me! I didn't even know lighthouses could lose power! I always thought they had back-up generators), I decided to make a big batch of gazpacho, planning to freeze some of it for another time.
 The cool thing about storms on the water, is the light show that you get to see. The light before a squall is very different from any other daylight, and makes for perfect photos!
 Dorothy, I'd find Auntie Em if I were you!
 Spooky clouds were forming fast...
…and lighting up the boats in vibrant whites against the super dark sky - better run to the car now!
And because it's summer, the fresh produce is amazing. I grabbed these strange heirloom tomatoes at the local farmer's market. They were called "ugly, ripe heirloom" tomatoes. Pretty mean, if you ask me. I bought ten of them for my recipe that serves 12-15 people.
 First things first, I need to clear my island to make room for all my bowls.
I found this glass hammer at the annual NH League of Craftsmen Fair held at Mt. Sunapee where we ski in the winter. The hammer was made at the Hot Glass Art Center by Jordana Korsen. It just seemed to need to come home with me, and looks great on my collection of books and magazines. Right now, one of the books I'm reading is Daughter of Empire, written by India Hicks' mom. I got to meet India and you can read about that crazy day in my previous blog post Island Style, India Hicks and Me! 

Now that I have my counter cleared, I'm ready to share this recipe. I love chunky gazpacho more than the pureed, but if you like it more fine, just blend it longer in your food processor or blender. The recipe is at the bottom of this post, but let's get started before another storm knocks out the power.
 I gathered all the ingredients and it's a really easy recipe. You just have to be in the mood to chop. So, I suggest you pick a day when you have a lot of issues to solve in your head, because you might be standing over a cutting board for a while.
You'll need tomatoes, peppers, garlic, garlic croutons, scallions, lemons, cucumbers, V-8 juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar and salt and pepper. I also garnish the cold soup with sour cream and extra croutons and serve it alongside crusty bread - yum yum!
I measured out 1 1/2 cups of garlic croutons to blend to make a fine bread crumb. Because the croutons are roasted with herbs, I just think they add more crunch and a little flavor.
Ooh! Action shot!

Use the pulse setting on your food processor until you get the desired consistency. This is a nice dry bread crumb but not super fine. I still want my soup crunchy!

 I grabbed 5 cloves of garlic for this big batch of gazpacho, but in retrospect, it was a little too much garlic. The recipe below will only require 3 cloves - live and learn :)
 The easiest way to peel garlic is to cut the bottom of the clove off and then smash it using the side of the knife blade. 
 It literally pops the garlic skins off and makes peeling the clove much easier!
Then you mince these babies up! I'm lucky because I wear contacts and I swear I don't tear up when chopping garlic or onions because of them.
 Basically, for this recipe, I chopped everything up into a small dice before assembling the soup. It was a lot of prep work, but then super easy to assemble. I felt like a chef on tv with all the little piles of chopped veggies everywhere. Ten tomatoes were ready for my knife.
 I simply sliced the odd-shaped tomatoes in half and then sliced each half intol smaller pieces and cut across the grain until I had a nice diced size.
Ten tomatoes is a lot to chop! I put on the music and started to crank it at this point!
 The recipe uses two bunches of scallions, or green onions. I think calling them green onions must be a regional thing because in my parts, we only call them scallions.
 I trimmed off the ends with the roots and then some of the less robust green ends so that I had perfect scallions to mince.
Two bunches of minced scallions is also a lot!
 Because, frankly I'm too lazy, I used European cucumbers because I didn't have to seed them. For this recipe, I used two and a half of these longer cucumbers.
 Yes, you still have to peel them, unfortunately...
 …and chop them...
...and here I have yet another bowl of chopped veggies. Where is that tv camera?
 Peppers add the perfect bite and color to this recipe, and you'll need two greens, one red and one yellow.
 The best trick for chopping a pepper is to cut the top off, and then use your knife to slice around the center from the top. Then all you have to do is pop out the core, seeds and all.
 Cut the membranes off as you cut the peppers first in half, and then in smaller slices.
 Line up the edges of the peppers...
…and chop away to make another small dice.
Voila! A bowl full of chopped cucumbers and peppers!
Now comes the fun part! This blender is scary! We used to have a food processor, but in trying to sell our house, I think I have put it in storage. Hence the Ninja (I should've guessed it's lethality due to the name)! I've cut myself on more than one occasion on the blades, but it is the perfect blender for gazpacho.
 All those tomatoes just baaaarely fit into the Ninja's pitcher. I pulsed it so I didn't puree it all. I still wanted bits and pieces of tomatoes.
And you can see how it turned out here.
Next up, all the other veggies, plus the garlic and scallions.
And three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and the bread crumbs.
Here's an artsy (not) overhead shot of the mixture. You'll have to scrape the sides when using the food processor or blender to get all the good bits chopped.
 The next step is to pour the veggie mixture into the tomatoes. See how chunky it is?
Fold it to combine well. You're almost done!
 Get a 46 ounce bottle of Original V-8 juice and pour it all into the mixture.
 Three tablespoons each of olive oil and vinegar and there's only one last step!
It's looking tasty…
…salt and peppahhhh! (I love pepper) Just add an amount to your taste.
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a few more croutons and some crusty bread. Here's to summer and easy recipes! And hopefully less crazy weather!
Cheers!

Crunchy, Zippy Gazpacho
Serves 12-15 (but you can easily halve this recipe)
10 Farm Fresh tomatoes (if possible)
3 cloves of garlic
1 1/c cups of garlic croutons
2 1/2 European cucumbers
2 bunches of scallions
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
46 oz. bottle of Original V-8 juice
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
sour cream and more croutons to garnish

Use a blender on pulse to make bread crumbs out of the croutons
Peel and mince the garlic
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and then put into a blender or food processor and pulse until it becomes a smaller dice but not quite pureed and place in a large bowl
Mince the scallions
Peel and chop the cucumbers into a small dice
Core, seed and finely chop the bell peppers
Mix all the chopped veggies (other than the tomatoes) with the scallions and garlic and fresh lemon juice and bread crumbs and put in a blender, pulsing it into a chunky finer mix (these are great cooking terms, aren't they?)
Combine both mixtures into an even bigger bowl and combine
Add the V-8 juice, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper.
Chill in your frig for up to three hours, but not too long. You don't want to lose the bite or crunch of your YUMMY gazpacho!

Garnish with sour cream and more croutons if you like! :) 
SO easy!

4 comments:

  1. Looks great! I'm guessing that you mix in the processed croutons?

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    1. Hi Jo!
      Thanks for the editing help! Yes, I've updated the blog. I just added the bread crumbs after I blended the veggies and mixed it again with the lemon juice. Hope you enjoy to - it's really good if I do say so myself :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks SO much for your kind words! Cheers!

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