The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

No-Cook Recipe: Gazpacho Soup

I’m feeling lighter this Monday, feeling refreshed and overall better. Sundays began to be “Annie hurts herself/becomes ill” day and this one passed without anything going wrong. Hoorah!

Greg worked on a project last week that kept him away most of the evenings. I had perhaps an hour with him most nights so I made a roasted chicken and stock to occupy my alone time. The roasted chicken recipe that most resembles mine is here at Food and Wine. Butter, garlic, herbs and a lemon-it’s as easy and tasty as that.

Potato gratin with goat cheese and garlic from Bon Appetit at made a great side. Both Greg and I agreed to make potato gratin with goat cheese from now on…de-lic-ious! The creamy, tanginess of the cheese paired well with the Yukon potatoes and garlic. I have pictures of all of these recipes but the haze of last week didn’t provide the lighting I needed and I don’t want to disrespect the food with a half-tuchused photo.

Greg is nearer to the Twin Cities for work this week and thinks he’ll be home sooner than the previous one. I hope so-we’ve got to get out to the trails. I was going crazy and rambling/ranting about having to rest. My pants became antsy. I wasn’t involved in working out, unless shifting on the couch counts, and had no idea when I could get back to it. The time is now in the great, humid outdoors. Greg loves the conditions out. He said it reminds him of working in construction and he misses that…something about being on a roof, sweating, with hammer in hand, makes him smile. I told you he’s odd.

I used half of the stock for risotto. (Recipe here for the stock.) That meal was improved using the homemade kind. The flavors were richer. I’m not sure where the remaining will end up but it will keep for months.

Now, I can’t imagine using the oven since it’s hot and humid. We have yet to place the air conditioner in the window so I’m writing you from the cold shower. I wish that were the case.

There was a time in my life where I would shower several times a day because I despise being sticky. I love the heat but toss in humidity (and mosquitoes) and you’ll find me taking cold showers. Well, I hope you don’t for the sake of your eyes and our relationship…that would be awkward.

This heatwave, besides having me crave outdoor cooking, also makes me want to prepare something simple without using the stove. Gazpacho to the rescue! This is a chilled, raw tomato-based soup (originating in Spain) that uses the best produce of summer. It’s in the running for the most refreshing soup.

Greg and I savored it sitting in the prairie area of the trails one weekend and with the clouds and slight breeze, it just seemed perfect. You might be making fun of me for that description but I suggest you try it and I would probably make fun of me too.

Real Simple magazine had a recipe in an issue and was my inspiration, even though the temperatures were low when I found it, I knew it would eventually come in handy. I thought their version would be a great recipe for later in the summer and began working on my own with more vegetables and herbs. This soup is known to be big on the onion flavor so reduce the onion for less of that punch. As well, the more you have, the more heat you will taste so reduce the amount of Tabasco and if you want more heat, add diced jalapeno or diced Serrano pepper.

Gazpacho Soup
Serves 4 to 6

2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ large red onion, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 red or yellow pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
6 to 8 whole Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
6 to 10 dashes of Tabasco sauce (reduce for less heat)
jalapeno or Serrano pepper-optional (to add more heat)
coarse sea salt/fresh ground pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme
½ cup fresh basil, chopped (or cilantro or parsley)
Garnish: avocado, basil, pine nuts, feta, goat cheese, croutons/toasted bread and diced leftover vegetables like onion, celery, cucumber, zucchini

Add all of the ingredients to a large food processor (or work in batches) or a blender. Leave some of the diced vegetables out for garnish if you wish and process until chunky or smooth-it’s up to you. Taste and add more Tabasco and/or salt/pepper. Chill for a few hours and serve with garnishes. Easy and great for summer- I like mine with a nice white wine, something crisp, Vinho verde wines are cost efficient and one of my favorites.