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Gazpacho: the Original Smoothie?
So, here we are. 4th of July. Independence Day. The Most Sacred Celebration in our Nation's secular canon. A time to reflect upon the ideals our nation was founded upon and our efforts in striving to live up to those ideals. An opprotunity to gratefully cheer the wisdom of those who wrote our Constitution.
Yr Wonkette is . . . not feeling it this year. Anybody else? Show of hands, please? Wow! That many? Yeah. That's what I thought. But, you know what? I'm still having people over for a cookout today, and, probably, some of you are, also too - simply because it's That Time of Year. The long days and warm weather seem to demand that we get together outside: cookouts, garden parties, family reunions, potluck dinners.
Socially, it's necessary to learn the details of Aunt Harriet's gallbladder surgery, and entertaining to hear cousin Dick tell the story of his 8 year old's hilariously humiliating performance in the school play, but there's always an undercurrent of competition. We know our food is being judged, and we all want to knock that one smug, bitchy cousin who thinks he's king of the kitchen* off his high horse, just to see that condescending smile slip.
Recipehub to the rescue! This week, we celebrate the bounty of our gardens with a wonderfully light, crisply flavored cold soup from Spain, perfect for a hot summer day. Today we make
Garden In A Bowl
Drinkage: Vodka seems appropriate, since this would make a mean Bloody Mary mix.
Difficulty: 2.5/10. Once you get past the PITA step of thoroughly seeding the tomatoes, it's all downhill.
Time: 30 minutes working, 3 - 12 hours resting.
WHAT YOU NEED!
2 lbs Ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 cucumber, 6 - 7 inches long
Red Bell pepper
1 Jalapeno pepper
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tbls Basalmic vinegar
2 Tbls Worchestershire Sauce
2 Tbls lemon juice
2 slices of plain white bread, or a 3 - 4 inch piece of french bread
1/2 Tbls Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Cumin
WHAT TO DO WITH WHAT YOU NEED!
Fill a large pot half full of water, place on burner over high heat & bring to a boil.
Fill a large bowl or pot with icewater.
Cut a small X through the skin at the bottom of each tomato. Gently place tomatoes in boiling water until skin loosens, approx 15 seconds. Remove from boiling water $ place in Icewater bath to cool, approx 1 minute.
Remove tomatoes from water, pat dry.
Peel, core, and seed the tomatoes, putting the flesh in a bowl and the core/seeds in a fine strainer over another bowl. Press as much juice through the strainer as possible. Reserve juice, discard seeds.
Peel, seed, and dice cucumber - you should have approximately 1 cup. Add to tomatoes.
Dice approx. 1/2 cup each onion & red pepper (seeded) . Add to tomatoes.
Seed and mince the jalapeno. Add to tomatoes
Mince the garlic. Add to tomatoes.
Whisk olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin into tomato juice, then stir mixture into vegetable mix.
Remove crust from bread. Place in water till soaked, then squeeze out as dry as possible. Set aside.
Working in batches as necessary, put the contents of the mixing bowl, along with an appropriate portion of the bread, in a blender or food processor. Puree/pulse process until well blended.
Pour into large bowl, cover, and refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Ladle into bowls. If desired, garnish with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a spray of chiffanoded basil.
And there you go. A refreshing blend of flavors, dominated by the crisp cucumber and the acidic bite of tomatoes, well balanced by the slight earthiness of the cumin, Worchestershire and garlic, and just a hint of a bite from the jalapeno. Even if it doesn't knock that self-proclaimed king of the kitchen off that pedestal, he won't be quite so smug anymore.
*Yr Wonkette condcedes that he may, in fact, be his family's smug, bitchy cousin who thinks he's king of the kitchen. But that's totally different, because he actually deserves the kitchen crown.
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