This past Sunday, my friend Tim and I rode our bicycles 105 miles participating in the Pittsburgh Tour de Cure, an American Diabetes Fundraiser. I have done other Centuries in the past, and as they go, this was a pretty good test of the training we have done this year. We averaged about 15 MPH over the full 105 miles, climbed nearly 6,000 feet, and spent not quite 8 hours on the back roads of Western Pennsylvania with about 75 other Century riders. To be totally candid, Tim can hammer the hills like you cannot believe, and he ‘pulled’ (rode in front of me) me up the hills for about the last 20 miles. But the camaraderie of sharing the challenge of the day is special, and we raised some money for a great cause.
During a ride like last Sunday’s, my bike computer told me I burned 6,500 calories–most of them carbs. We constantly eat PB&J sandwiches and fruit, hydrate with Gatorade and consume GU during the ride, but it’s just not possible to replace that many calories while on a bike. So when we finish the ride, we immediately consume mountains of pasta, fruit, chocolate milk and whatever happens to be within arms reach to begin the recovery process.
True to form, I ate some roasted chicken and a substantial quantity of pretty average macaroni and cheese at the finish line. On the way home, I stopped at Bruster’s Ice Cream and bought a large chocolate milk shake, which, like a reward or prize, actually feeds your soul, more than replenishes the calories. Riding up and down Western Pennsylvania hills can suck the life out of your soul–trust me on this one. And there’s just something about being able to consume so many empty calories without guilt that re-births your soul. It’s one of those simple pleasures of riding long-distances on a bike.
However, all the way home, my mind was focused on the Gazpacho I had made for the Friday evening Summertime Festival of Seven Fishes dinner party we threw. Another thing that endurance rides deplete is vitamin C and I knew I’d get a huge dose of it in a big ‘ol bowl of my Gazpacho, homemade with fresh vegetables. I knew I had some extra shrimp from Friday as well.
Check out the Recipe. I know there seems to be a lot of ingredients, but this is an amazingly easy cold soup to make, and all it requires is fresh vegetables, tomato juice and a refrigerator to let the flavors blend and meld overnight. All the rest of the ingredients should be hanging around in your pantry someplace.
Here’s the thing. Most of the people in your social circles will have no clue how to make a great Gazpacho like this, and furthermore, and making fantastic soups should be in your repertoire of skills. So if you can master a soup like this, you should expect some disbelief, and testing of your integrity, because I guarantee they are going to accuse you of having bought it at the best restaurant in town and tried to take credit as yours. After you show them the food processor or blender in the kitchen sink, you are going to get Serious Accolades! I guarantee it. My Kathy absolutely begs me to make it during the summer months when local fresh vegetables are available in the farmers markets.
One thing you’ll need is a food processor. I know you may not have one of these, but don’t panic. I’m pretty sure you have a blender somewhere in the house–probably down in the game room bar–you know the thing where you make frozen margaritas. Yeah–I know it’s pretty shocking to learn that it can also be used to make Gazpacho. Just do it in small batches so you don’t overload or overfill it. It’ll work just fine.
This is an absolutely terrific picnic soup, or appetizer served in glass coffee cups or just served alongside my Simple Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette, because the colors are so vibrant and the taste is so fresh. It is also versatile. For example, the picture I’ve included in the blog is how I served it on Friday night, with 3 freshly poached shrimp, a fantastically easy and rewarding recipe I’ll include in a future blog. I called it a “Gazpacho Martini Cocktail” for obvious reasons. You can also serve it with lump crabmeat, and I’ve even thrown strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar on top, truly an magnificent combination of flavors.
We had 16 guests at the dinner party, and everyone drank all of their Martini. You might say our guests got ‘drunk’ on Gazpacho. Corny!! And we allowed them to drink and drivie afterwards too!! (HAHA!! I’m not known for stupid jokes, but that qualifies.) There were many, many compliments, and yes, one of my guests asked where I had bought it!! I happily escorted her to the kitchen to personally witness the cleaned food processor in the sink. Such small pleasures are wonderfully fun to experience!
Anyway, here it is. Give it a whirl and give me some feedback on it.
My Awesome Summertime Gazpacho
Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Servings: 8 healthy bowls or 12 first courses | Difficulty: Easy
- 4 to 5 fresh medium tomatoes, quartered
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, split and roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 large red or green pepper, seeded and quartered
- 1 4 ounces jar pimento, drained
- 1 32 ounces jar or can high quality tomato juice
- 1 small zucchini, rough chopped
- 4 stalks celery, rough chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, quartered
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce, to taste
- 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 4 to 5 tbsp chopped fresh chives or mint
1. Combine 1/2 of first four ingredients into food processor or blender with 1 cup of the tomato juice.
2. Purée into very small pieces and thick sauce.
3. Pour into large storage container or bowl.
4. Combine remainder of first four ingredients, plus pimento, zucchini, celery, and garlic with 1 cup tomato juice.
5. Repeat steps 2 and 3, but allow purée to be a little chunkier for texture and appearance.
6. To the puree, add and mix by hand the remaining tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Tabasco.
7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
8. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with fresh chopped chives or mint.
A. This is a terrific picnic course. It travels well and is so refreshing served in glass coffee cups or small bowls at the picnic.
B. To take this up a notch, float a tablespoon full of fresh lump crabmeat or 2 or 3 poached, chilled large shrimp on top of the gazpacho just before serving. Add the chives and it’s a great summertime lunch or dinner soup.
C. This will keep in the refrigerator for several days, and gets even better if allowed to meld flavors overnight.
D. The picture shows the Gazpacho served in a Martini Glass with 3 of the Perfect Poached Shrimp.
Source: My Recipe Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager
Categories: Great Recipes
That’s a beautifully elegant presentation!
Thank you and I hope you enjoy other items in the blog.
Thanks for the comment and compliment.