Gazpacho

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Chief Longwind Of The North

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The hot weather is here. With many a garden starting to produce, it's a perfect time for a cold, refreshing soup. To satisfy that desire for something refreshing, and full of flavor, I give you Gazpacho. This recipe is an excerpt from one of my cookbooks. Enjoy.​

Gazpacho originated in Spain and was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards. It is a cold, tomato-based soup that relies on raw vegetables for flavor, texture, and to provide a refreshing zest to any meal on a hot August day.
There are many recipes for this cold soup. Mine is basic, but contains the essential ingredients upon which you can expand. I've taken the liberty of adding an avocado to help thicken and add just one more flavor layer to this soup. The avocado makes it creamier. I've usually experienced Gazpacho without the avocado, or with the fruit sliced and served on the side. But any way you make it, it's good stuff.
Hmmm. As this is a book to help you learn how to create new and interesting dishes from a basic understanding of food, I'm going to also give you a Gazpacho recipe to play with. We'll create it together. You'll see what I mean following the below listed recipe.

Ingredients:
5 ripe, sweet Tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1 sweet Onion, diced
1 medium cucumber, washed and cut into chunks
1 yellow Bell Pepper, diced
3 tbs. Cilantro leaves
2 ripe Haas Avocados, peeled and diced (optional)
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 fresh lime, quartered
salt

Place all ingredients, except the lime wedges, into the blender along with 2 tbs. Cilantro leaves, olive oil, and the avocado. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Serve as a refreshing cold soup, along with the quartered limes and salt.
*
Experimental Gazpacho
I am going to give you a list of ingredients that will go well in this soup, and let you decide which ones and how much of each ingredient to add. I'll also give you tips about how to add ingredients in a way that will almost guarantee success.
Ingredients:
Fresh, whole, ripe Tomatoes
Tomato juice
Fresh Cilantro
Pepper Sauce (Tabasco or Frank's)
Fresh, chopped Jalapeno Peppers
Diced Bell Peppers (red, green, yellow, and orange)
Chili Powder
Sliced Celery
Chopped Onion
Sliced Carrots
Fresh Corn Tortillas
Avocado
Whole Kernel Corn
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Paprika
Minced Garlic
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Okra
Kidney Beans
Pinto Beans
Chopped Spinach Leaves

Let's think about what this soup is supposed to do. It's supposed to refresh us, while at the same time, satisfy our taste buds. And remember, this cold soup was traditionally a way to use up good vegetables from the garden.
With that in mind, let's decide which ingredients to use. Of course we're going to use some kind of tomato with tomato juice for the base. This will allow you to cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks.
The problem with many fresh veggies is that if left to sit while raw, natural enzymes begin to digest the vegetable. Think day old lettuce that’s been left out. So we either need to blanch the veggies to denature the enzymes, or use them very fresh. Cooked tomatoes are already in a state that will keep well.
The herbs,(cilantro, garlic, onion, pepper) when cooked will give up much of their flavor to the tomato broth. But this is supposed to be a cold soup. So we will have to cook these in the broth and then allow the soup to cool in the refrigerator.
Raw onion is a great flavor, in very small amounts. I use it in Cole-slaw. But that flavor will be overpowering to this soup. So, we will either need to cook the onion in the broth, to sweeten it and remove the crunch, or use onion powder. The same is true of the garlic.

The hot sauce, now there's a variable. Some people love it, and others detest it. I suggest putting this condiment at the table and allowing the individual to add it to their own bowl.

The peppers will add great flavor, but use sparingly. Add a little, let cook for a good fifteen minutes or so and taste. If you need to add more, do so. If not, don't add more, just to show how hot you can handle food. Your guests or family will not appreciate you at all if the soup is too spicy-hot..
The bell peppers should be diced fairly small and cooked into the broth. The flavor is great. But remember, the richer the color, the greater the food value. Also, the more colorful peppers are higher priced. So use your best judgment. One more thing, bell peppers have a strong flavor. As with all ingredients, add sparingly, but use enough to add color and flavor to the soup.
The cilantro is my favorite herb to add to most things Mexican. It is pungent in flavor, reminiscent of parsley, but without the bitterness. Use too much though, and you've ruined the soup.
Then there are other spices and herbs you can add, and other ingredients such as mushrooms, capers, olives, etc. All I can say is put together the various flavors in your mind. Try to imagine what each addition will add to the overall flavor. Then, add what you think will work. Season sparingly. You can always add more. But once its in, you can't get it out.
Now, go make the best Garden Veggie soup you've ever tasted. You can do this.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
Last edited:

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,229
Location
Long Island, New York
Looks great.
I like the addition of cilantro and avocado. never had it like that before. Many try it tomorrow, as my tomatoes are kicking in, already harvested onions and garlic, and looking for a way to use up my cukes.

I usually follow Jacques Pepin's recipe. its with tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, cucumber, olive oil, and some spicy Bloody Mary mix. Im not sure, but I think once. saw him toss some bread in there before blending I up. I could be mistaken.
 
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