Hot House, Cool Soup
I love to can. Really. I even wrote a book about it, so, there’s legitimate proof as to my fondness for the technique. Like any intense relationship, though, sometimes things get a bit overheated and a cooling off period is necessary. It just happens.
I live in the southeastern U.S.. It’s August. My house has no A.C.. The south is known for its humidity. Accordingly, my canner and I took a break this week. We forged other alliances, tried out new things. Confident in the unshakable certainty of our relationship, we enjoyed other activities, knowing we’d merge again soon, when the cloud of hot, heavy, nasty air moved on and we could breathe around each other more easily once again. It’s a short-lived break, but a necessary one, for both of us.
What did I discover during my canning time out? One word-gazpacho. I love the sound of it, gaz-PAH-cho. Like a confident, saucy Lady, perched languidly on a bar stool, dressed in a red dress and 4 inch heels, sipping sangria. Were gazpacho human, it would no doubt look just so.
My garden is busting out, pouring forth a scandalous display of veggie booty. It’s finally high season in the soil-the tomatoes are turning red (and gold!), cucumber vines are running all over each other, the zucchini is putting out fruit faster than I can harvest it. Peppers, herbs, yellow and winter squash, pumpkins, Japanese eggplant-it’s a wild, happy mess out there.
Since I’m seeking comfort elsewhere this week (see above), gazpacho seemed like the perfect solution for using up all this veggie madness in an efficient and delectable (and time sensitive) manner. Blessed as I am with a husband whose inner Julia Child knows no limits, we feasted last night on the best gazpacho ever to pass my lips. Perfect in all the right ways. Full of flavor, texture, heat, acid, zip, and twang. Back-to-back bowl-worthy, in fact.
Should you find yourself with veggies all up in your business and a need for a canning time-out, whip this up. You’ll be glad you did, and your relationship (with your canner, that is) will be all the better for it.
*Thanks to the incomparable Hubs for this, who serves me heaven on a plate every night folks. Every. Night.
-Chopped tomatoes (enough to fill 2/3 of the food processor)
-1/2 jar (12 oz) Bionature strained tomatoes or tomato juice
-3 cloves garlic (minced)
-1/2 sweet onion (diced)
-2 stalks celery (diced)
-1 carrot (diced)
-1/2 yellow, orange. or red pepper (diced)
-1 medium cucumber (diced)
-1/3rd cup olive oil
-Chipotle Tobasco (best) or hot sauce to taste
-1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
-2 Tbsp. lime juice
-1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
-1 pinch dried thyme
-1 pinch toasted (in a dry pan for a minute) ground cumin
-A couple pinches of salt
-A little ground pepper
-A couple pinches of chopped fresh herbs (such as marjoram, basil, cilantro, parsley, or whatever you like), optional
-Heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, pepper, carrot, and celery. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cook for two more minutes, then add tomato juice and stir. Turn heat back up to medium, then cook 4 more minutes. Set aside.
-Pulse tomatoes a couple of times in food processor till chunky. Spoon out tomato mixture into a large mixing bowl, till food processor is left only half full.
-Add tomato juice/veggie/and oil mixture to food processor. Add chipotle sauce, salt, ground pepper, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, vinegar, and fresh herbs (if using).
-Pulse a few times till blended, but still a little chunky.
-Add to bowl containing reserved tomato puree.
-Add diced cucumber, and stir.
-If possible, chill for 20-30 minutes.
*This is a reprint of a post originally run in August 2009. The recipe is as good today as it was back then, and given all that’s coming out of my garden and the warmth that’s the order of the day lately inside our home, it seemed a good time to run the post again.