Sunday, August 8, 2010

Garden Fresh Gazpacho


For many years, I had a black thumb. Herbs, annuals, perennials all wilted at my touch. I'd almost given up until I came across the earth boxes at my favorite garden store this year. Starting out with one box, we planted a couple of broccoli seedlings. Within a few weeks they had shot up looking green, leafy and vibrant. I went back and bought a few more boxes, adding peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. And for the first time, I have a thriving garden from which I made dinner (or at least part of it).

Anyone in Chicago could attest to the heavy, stale heat that we endured on Saturday. A simple walk to our neighborhood street festival and back knocked me out. Needing a pick me up, I made this delicious gazpacho, the gold standard of cold summer soups.

Garden Fresh Gazpacho
Serves 4

Adapted from Gourmet

1 2-inch piece country bread, crusts removed
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cucumber peeled and cut into small dice
1 bell pepper seeded and cut into small dice

Soak the bread in water for 1 minute. Squeeze the excess liquid out. Puree the garlic, salt, vinegar, sugar, and 1 1/2 pounds of the tomatoes in a food processor. With the motor running, add the remaining tomatoes and the oil through the feed tube. Push the soup through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir in the cucumber and pepper. Set the bowl into another larger bowl filled with ice and chill in the refrigerator until very cold.

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