Recipes from the J. Morey Staff: Gazpacho

When it’s hot and humid outside, I have a hard time cooking and eating anything warm, so I tend to eat a lot of cool things, like cold noodle dishes (soba or somen), salads, yogurt, and fresh fruits.  So when I saw The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Gazpacho, I thought I would try it.  

Note: this recipe has been slightly adapted from the original.

Ingredients:
*you’ll need a food processor or blender for this recipe*
2 tsp. of crushed garlic (I used the jar version from Trader Joe’s)
About 1/2 of a red onion
1 large cucumber (or 2 small Japanese cucumbers)
5 roma tomatoes
1 zucchini
2 celery stalks
4 C. tomato juice
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
Table salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Dice the onion, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, and celery.  Put half of the mixture in a blender or food processor and add olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, a dash of salt, and half the tomato juice (2 C.).

2.  Pulse the ingredients until blended well – you should be able to see speckles of color from the different vegetables.  Do not over process.

3.  Pour mixture into a large glass or ceramic bowl and add the remaining tomato juice and half of the remaining vegetable mixture (put the rest of it aside for garnish).

4.  Stir together and add seasonings to taste (pepper, creole seasoning, and more Tabasco if you want it spicier).  Let chill for at least a few hours.

5.  Before serving, stir the soup again and check to see if it needs any additional seasoning.  Pour into individual bowls and top with the remaining vegetables (optional toppings include: fresh avocado, sour cream, and/or cilantro).

Suggestions:
The original recipe suggests grilling some shrimp and bread to eat with the soup, but I just used some Cajun chicken breast and toasted sourdough bread.  The soup is very refreshing, but a little strange because it’s so cold.  It reminded me a lot of salsa, so I bet it would be good with a quesadilla or maybe even a grilled cheese sandwich.