Summer Gazpacho

Oh, look. Another no-cook meal. Are you surprised?

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Trust me, you’ll like this one. Not only is it like ten servings of vegetables in one…serving, but there’s no cooking involved and it’s full of flavor. True it does involve quite a bit of chopping vegetables, but once you do that it’s a matter of throwing it all into a bowl with some spices and letting it sit for a while for the flavors to meld. Yum.

Plus, I just like saying “gazpacho”. Gazpacho, according to the all-powerful wikipedia, is “a tomato based soup, usually served cold, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalucia.” I guess technically you’re supposed to puree more of the vegetables up so it has more of a soup-like texture, but I honestly prefer the vegetables diced for a crunchier. I did puree a little bit of the mixture and added it back to the bowl, but to be perfectly honest I didn’t like the way it looked and plus I think it tasted fine as is, so I left it. So there.

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For some reason this dish brings to mind a picture of me in a perfectly swishy 50’s era dress (it’s yellow) and pearls, hosting a dinner party in the middle of a gorgeous vineyard on a perfectly sunny summer day. Everyone is drinking perfectly chilled glasses of white wine and taking dainty bites of gazpacho while laughing uproariously at who-knows-what.

Yeah. This is the way my mind works. Although I do think this gazpacho would be fabulous paired with a crisp Chardonnay or maybe a Moscato if you like your wine on the sweeter side. I added a dash of Tapatio hot sauce at the last minute, which added a surprising kick of spice to an otherwise cool and refreshing dish. I kinda liked it.

I ended up eating a huge bowl of this as a meal due to the ridiculous heat we’ve had, but you could serve it as an appetizer or a side with a beautiful salmon filet (which is what I serve in my aforementioned daydream), or maybe a light chicken piccata. I also ate this with blue corn chips and called it “salsa”, I added a heaping spoonful on top of a plain omelet, I served it with a grilled chicken breast, and I added it to some lettuce wrap tacos. Just to give you a few other ideas.

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Although I guess I should warn you: if you follow my recipe, you have to like garlic. A lot. I love garlic, so it was fine for me, and with The Man living on the other side of the country I don’t have to worry about breathing on anyone living with me. I can’t really say the same for my co-workers. I took a little bowl of this to work as a snack the other day, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be receiving any Employee of the Month awards any time soon. Oh, well. I ate some altoids and called it a day.

…what’s wrong with that?

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: (makes a huge pot)

4 fresh on the vine tomatoes, diced

1 can diced tomatoes (my favorite is Hunt’s with basil and olive oil)

1/2 each red and green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

4 english cucumbers, diced

3 ribs celery, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Tapatio hot sauce

WHAT TO DO

Dice all your vegetables. Take a break to rest your arms. In a bowl, combine vegetables, oil, vinegar and cumin and stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a dash (or two) of Tapatio. Stir again and and refrigerate, covered for a few hours to let all the flavors combine. Serve with parsley garnish.

*Note: the longer this sits, the more the flavors combine into something AWESOME. No lie. Each time I tried it, it tasted better.

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