Beautiful, sunny summer days are perfect for cocktails on patios where breezes dance around your skin and the energy from the people around you is enough of a distraction from the 90 degree weather to keep you happy. My apartment, on the other hand, does not fare so well. On the third floor of a building with no air-conditioning and big, sun-inviting windows, the idea of cooking myself dinner can feel like a truly insurmountable task. Turning on the oven? No way.
So, with an evening to myself, I decided to tackle my first gazpacho. And when I went to the store and found this tomato, I knew it was fate.
Truly monstrous. And juicy. And delicious.
I sifted through some recipes online and then decided to improvise for my ideal results. And it went pretty well.
To start, I diced up a zucchini and a cucumber, my beloved monster tomato, another more reasonably sized heirloom, the majority of a red onion, a poblano chile pepper, and two cloves of garlic. I got some kind of mutated garlic I think, because the cloves were rather large and I probably should have only used one.
Lesson learned for next time, I guess. Anyway, I also chopped up some fresh snap peas, shaved some delicious sweet corn kernels off of their cobs, and chopped up some perfectly green chives.
From here, I put the garlic and most of the red onion in the bowl of a food processor along with half of the cucumber, zucchini, and tomato. I’ve heard you can use a blender just as easily, but mine is a spawn of Satan and I refuse to use it. I then poured 2 cups of tomato juice over everything, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, an 1/8 cup of tarragon vinegar and a spoonful of sugar. I dashed some Cholula on top of the mix for a hint of magical spice, and sprinkled some coarse Kosher salt over the veggies as well. I pulsed the mixture until it was blended pretty well but still a little chunky, but I suppose that whole step is a matter of personal preference.
I poured the soup into a large glass bowl and added the remaining 2 cups of tomato juice and the veggies, including all of the corn, snap peas, and chives.
With a little more salt and pepper, my gazpacho took on a personality all its own. Yes. I was once again a four-year-old girl unwrapping a neon pink Skip-It, but this time with a giant bowl of chunky tomato soup. I might have to eat it for every meal over the coming week to avoid watching my pride and joy rot in the refrigerator, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for refusing to cook anything in your 85 degree apartment. Garnishings for such delicious summer soup vary from palette to palette, but I went for a little crumbled feta and a gorgeous, creamy avocado.
Add a little lemon juice and enjoy fully.
If after all your hard work you feel like also enjoying a refreshing libation, the gingery effervescence of a Moscow Mule will certainly do the trick.
I may have garlic breath for the next seven days, but my little gazpacho baby is not sorry.
A loose recipe for the gazpacho is as follows:
4 cups 100% tomato juice
4 large tomatoes, or whatever floats your boat, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cucumber, diced
the kernels from 3 ears of corn
1 cup snap peas, chopped
1 red onion, diced
2 [reasonably sized] cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
6 hearty dashes of your favorite hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Dice all the veggies and mince the garlic. In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the garlic and red onion, and half of the tomatoes, cucumber, and zucchini. Pour 2 cups of the tomato juice into the bowl, along with the olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce, and sugar. Pulse to whatever level of consistency you most enjoy, and then pour into a large glass bowl to add the remaining ingredients. First pour the remaining 2 cups of tomato juice, then the rest of the vegetables can go on top. Give the mixture a satisfying stir, and pour yourself a bowl right away if you’d like. If you have the patience, however, it’s nice to let the soup chill in the fridge for awhile and enjoy it nice and cold. Whatever you want.
A recipe for a consistently delicious Moscow Mule* goes like this:
1.5 ounces of your vodka of choice
1/2 of a lime, squeezed and left in the glass
Pour over ice and top with your favorite ginger beer. I love the Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, but Gosling’s is a classic that ought not be overlooked.
*make it a Dark-n-Stormy by substituting a dark rum for the vodka