Life is sometimes funny in the Southern Hemisphere. Christmas day is hot. Easter doesn't give us the fresh start of Spring; instead it is rainy autumn weather. And June is not the summer holidays, but the start of winter and it is cold. However, when you belong to a cooking group like Barefoot Bloggers which is predominantly North American, you get to cook along with northern hemisphere seasons and pretend that it is warm when it is actually pretty miserable.
This week's height of summer Barefoot pick is gazpacho, a chilled soup I really love. I have already posted three different versions of Gazpacho on this blog (a Spanish version, a cucumber version and a fancy almond version). I love the balance of flavours between the vegetables, and I love that it feels like I am doing something really good for my health when I eat it. And when I ate it today, I could pretend that spring is nearly here, when actually it is 67 days away (OK I am counting).
Ina's Barefoot version of gazpacho is fairly simple and very tasty. Where other versions use bread to thicken the soup after pureeing vegetables as the base, this gazpacho was made thick by the large volume of chopped vegetables tossed through the tomato juice base. I left out the olive oil altogether, although if you had a really lovely oil, you could garnish the soup with a swirl of it. I also added my own avocado garnish as I love the contrast it brings to the texture of the soup, and the way it balances some of the more pungent flavours. Using the tomato juice makes this soup very quick and convenient. Just the thing for lunch while lolling about at a beach house contemplating an afternoon siesta. I wish.
If you are interested in joining the Barefoot Bloggers, click on the icon in the margin. Thanks to Meryl from My Bit of the Earth for her choice.
Gazpacho from "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" by Ina Garten
1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.