Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gazpacho (Chilled Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Soup with Avocado)

My goodness, its hard to come back from vacation! Inertia really took hold, let me tell you! All of that laying by the pool! ;)

We weren't very consistent with our picture taking, and even then, it was all done on our cell phones... so once we're able to transfer those around, I'll share what we did photograph! I cannot wait to gush! :)

I do want to say this one little thing, though. I still cannot get over the iced tea my husband ordered at San Marco. Not specifically because of the tea, mind you. My joy stems from the fact that rather than bring him sugar or sugar substitute, they brought a little glass of simple syrup - and more with each refill! Beside myself, I tell you!

Now, on to the soup!

We'd received a TON of tomatoes in our CSA before we left for Vegas. Which is nice, because now that we've gotten so much water, the tomatoes are splitting and rotting on the vine... which means less tomatoes each week... so I'm glad we got them in while we could!

I had never skinned a tomato before... Until now, whenever I needed whole tomatoes, for a sauce or something, I always bought canned. I decided that it was time to learn, so that I could make this dreamy gazpacho with our lovely farm veggies! I am happy to report that it isn't the least bit tricky. Messy, absolutely - but that is half the fun!!!

All the veggies blended together nicely, and I love love love that I was able to slip so many vegetables into this soup. It was so so fresh and lively, delicate and simple. I highly recommend it. I am already planning my coup at the farmer's market - I'll take all the tomatoes they have! And I'll fight you for 'em!

I'm really loving my blender, too. So what if it sounds like a lawn-mower at higher speeds?

Gazpacho (Chilled Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Soup with Avocado)
From Dona Tomas: Discovering Authentic Mexican Cooking

1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
4 pounds heirloom tomatoes
½ white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 small jalapeno chile, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 avocados, cut into ¾ inch dice, for garnish
½ bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped, for garnish

Place the cucumber in a blender and puree on a low speed until a coarse consistency is achieved. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pulse 2 to 3 times to incorporate. Pour into a serving bowl and set aside.

Place a saucepan filled about halfway with water over high heat and bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Stem the tomatoes and slash an X into the skin at the bottoms. Submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen the skins, drain, and immediately plunge into the ice bath. Drain again, then peel off the skins. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze the tomatoes into the strainer, using your fingers to extract as many of the seeds as possible. The goal is to remove and discard the seeds while reserving the precious juice in the bowl.

Working in batches if necessary, transfer the tomatoes and their juice and the onion, garlic, and jalapeno to a blender. Puree on high speed until liquefied and smooth. Pour into the bowl with the cucumber puree, stir well, and adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary (cold soups will often need more salt than hot soups).

Cover and place the soup in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, until well chilled. Ladle into chilled bowls and garnish with the avocado and cilantro. This soup can be refrigerated in a plastic container for up to 2 to 3 days, but is best enjoyed within 24 hours of preparation.

No comments: