Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Super Yummy Gazpacho

Years ago, I would have gagged at the thought of eating gazpacho. Not the band (apparently there's a band??). The soup. It's a cold soup, and one of the two main ingredients is usually cucumbers. (The other is tomatoes, which is a "pro" for me.) I hate cucumbers. Not as much as I fear pickles (yes, I actually fear pickles, it's not a joke), but I do not like the taste of cucumbers. You will not find me slicing one up and eating it. Ever.

I can't remember the first time I had Gazpacho, but I know I wasn't a fan. I think I've tried it once a year and slowly came to enjoy it. Then about a month ago Tim and I went out for dinner at JG Domestic and I had the gazpacho basically just for the fact that it had goat cheese in it. I'll pretty much order anything with goat cheese in it. To my surprise, I LOVED IT.

And that's when I became obsessed with gazpacho. I wanted to make it, but wanted to make it right. I was too impatient so I went and bought some from Trader Joe's one day. I asked a worker there if it was spicy and she told me absolutely not. FALSE. Ok, yes, I have a very high sensitivity to spice, but still. "Absolutely not" should mean absolutely not. It was a little spicy, which, to me, means a lot spicy. Anyhoo - I then went in search of gazpacho recipes. I checked my fave food blogger websites, printed out their versions. Looked through my cookbooks, marked the pages. I have been pretty much obsessed with making the best damn gazpacho ever (ok, next to Jose Garces') for weeks now. I wanted it sweet - and for REAL "absolutely not" spicy - and tomatoey. I knew I had to succumb to putting cucumbers in there, but was determined to puree them to oblivion so that they would blend with everything else and I wouldn't be able to see them.

When we got back from England my obsession had reached it's peak - the day we got back I broke out all the print outs and cookbooks and went to work. I took a bit from this recipe, a bit from that one, and a bit of "hmm... I have that in my pantry", and here is what I came up with. Oh, I should probably tell you that it was YUMMY. And do you know how easy it is to make gazpacho? It all goes in the blender!!

Sorry for the lack of pictures. Tim makes fun of me when I take pictures of my food... plus my camera was in my room all 3 floors above the kitchen. But this is what it looks like.

Super Yummy Gazpacho

- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp basil, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups tomato juice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- salt, to taste
- goat cheese crumbles and grated parmesan cheese for serving
- 1/2 avocado, chopped, for serving

You literally just chop everything that needs to be chopped, reserve about a half cup of the tomatoes, and put everything else in the blender. Puree for a minute or two, until at desired consistency. Pour into a large bowl, add reserved tomatoes, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with goat cheese crumbles, grated parmesan cheese, and avocado chunks. DONE.

You may prefer to reserve some cucumbers for serving or add in some bell peppers or celery - go to! I love tomatoes and therefore wanted that to be the only "chunky" part of my soup (besides the cheese and avocado). I love bell peppers and celery in soups - but only in cooked soups. Also, when I first made this I used a can of vegetable broth, but didn't have any the second go 'round, so I used the tomato juice. I think it's yummier with the tomato juice, but do what you want!

I succeeded in making my perfect gazpacho, AND found out that I like the taste of cucumbers - but only if pureed and combined with other things. This soup is also perfect for bringing to work for lunch - no heating up required. I just let it sit at room temp for about 20 minutes before eating so it's not too cold.


I may make it every week until October.


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