Gazpacho (when life gives you tomatoes)

I’m just going to be real here for a moment.  I’m having a crappy, crappy day.

“Crappy” is a precise word, I think, for a day where nothing terrible happened, but nothing good, or even alright happened either.  It’s been raining for four days straight.  The dogs and I are about to LOSE OUR MINDS.  It took me an hour to get to work this morning, because of the rain and because school is starting.  And thinking about the end of summer has me thinking about three weeks from yesterday when my husband will be heading to Afghanistan aboard the mighty Hercules, and I will be left here, in Arkansas, until 2017.

So the light at the end of my crappy day was the fact that Sean would be coming home from a trip to DC tonight, and for the love of GOD he would be able to wear these dogs out because they are driving me insane.

And then he calls and says they can’t make it back tonight because of the weather.  And somehow, even though this should not be a tragedy because the house is a mess and I always want him to err on the side of caution when flying, I choose to not react sympathetically.  I chose to be short, angry, and then storm out the door from the work, crying all the way home.  See what I mean? It’s not a terrible day, it’s just crappy.

Anyway, the only source of happiness I have tonight is a fridge full of tomatoes I picked up at Whole Foods yesterday, whose destiny was to transform into the most wonderful gazpacho. So, I decided I was going to do that, and what’s more, I wasn’t going to share any of it.  Because this girl. loves. gazpacho.

Never had or heard of gazpacho?  Don’t worry, its better than it sounds. Gazpacho is a cold tomato-based soup composed almost exclusively of fresh veggies and spices, with a little oil and vinegar here and there.  It tastes like summer and good health!  The best part about it is that it’s super difficult to mess up, which makes it an amazing recipe for me.

Sean and I went to the Capitol Hotel in Little Rock one night to celebrate the end of his training when we first moved here, and we had the BEST, no, LIFE CHANGING gazpacho there.  I’m been trying to one-up it ever since.

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If I’m being perfectly honest, my gazpacho “recipe” is never the same exact thing twice.  I usually start with a few choice ingredients, and then add something here and there depending on what I have in my fridge or what I’m feeling like that day.

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No sooner did I whip a batch of this miracle worker, than I was transported away from the rain–away from the dogs chewing up Sean’s flight checklists–away from the impending deployment and singledogparenthood and cooking for one.  The recipe I’m providing here is a basic gazpacho, and you can experiment with whatever you want to throw in.  Like I said…can’t screw this one up!

Gazpacho

  • 3Lbs chopped tomatoes (I used a mixture of heirloom and roma, you can use whichever you want!)
  • 1 english cucumber, halved and chopped into little pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayanne pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste (optional)

I use a large bowl, a small bowl, and a blender for this recipe, and that’s about it.  Start by chopping the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and jalepeno.  They just need to be roughly chopped small enough so that they will blend up fairly easily.  Once they are chopped up, set aside about a 1/2 cup each of the tomatoes and the cucumber in a small bowl for the garnish.

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Next, place your chopped vegetables, the tomato paste, and the red wine vinegar in your blender and blend until desired consistency.  I always wait to add spices until I’ve gotten the consistency I like.  For this recipe, I use my Ninja Blender attachment.  It gets the soup nice and smooth, but still preserves texture.

Once you’ve gotten the consistency to your liking (this requires many taste tests, in my case), go ahead and add your spices and pulse a couple of more times to combine.  The last thing I do is stir in the olive oil (with a spoon, don’t blend).  That is it!!

I usually chill the soup in the fridge for an hour before serving so it’s nice and cold, but if you want to eat it right away, ten minutes in the freezer will do.

Serve in a bowl with a generous scoop of the reserved veggies, and be prepared to come back for seconds, and thirds!

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Lawyer, writer, food lover. Welcome to the right side of my brain!

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