Refreshing Gazpacho

Uncomfortably hot and humid summer-time weather is one of the few displeasure of living in the DC metro area. The other displeasures being metro issues (no tourists, our metro is not as glorious as you think), traffic and well more traffic.

I credit the New England upbringing for this one, but I am much happier layering up to head out in a 30 degree or lower winter chill, than I am finding the lightest sundress humanly possible to walk the 5 minutes to my car in unbearable heat.

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Granted, this DC heat wave I speak of only seems to go for a few days, to at most a few weeks, but when it hits, man is it brutal. Immediately you are on the search for refreshment, calling up all your friends who live at apartments with pools and begging to sneak in.

Thankfully, Mother Nature has given us a bit of a respite from these tumultuous heat waves, though with how summers go around here I expect this break to not last for too long.

A few weeks ago, in the midst of one of these crazy spurts of humidity, I was on the hunt for something cool and refreshing for dinner.

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My chief vegetarian consultant Alyson had just received a Vitamix and was dying to try the thing out. The first thing that came to mind was Gazpacho – full of vegetables and bold flavors from herbs and citrus and surely would be refreshing.

I had never made Gazpacho before and quite honestly had long thought of it as being cold tomato soup. But, after Alyson and I did some research, we came across a recipe that was full of flavor and an added punch from some spice.

To make this gazpacho into a more substantial weekday meal, serve it up with some toppings, such as cold, cooked shrimp tossed in olive oil and lemon pepper, sliced avocado and chopped up red and green peppers. And make sure to have plenty of crusty bread handy to gather up every last refreshing bite.

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Gazpacho

  • 2lbs tomatoes–quartered and seeds removed
  • 2/3 yellow bell pepper (1/3 saved for toppings)
  • 2/3 red bell pepper (1/3 saved for toppings)
  • 2/3 cucumber (1/3 saved for toppings)
  • 1 jalapeno seeds removed (more/less depending on your spice preference)
  • 1/2 habanero pepper seeds removed (more/less depending on your spice preference)
  • 3 scallions
  • 1/2 vidalia onion
  • juice of a lime
  • 1 tsp fresh basil
  • siracha and salt to taste
  • toppings: chopped celery, bell peppers, cucumber, scallions, avocado, chilled cooked shrimp, toasted bread cubes

Put everything but a few of the tomatoes in a blender and blend together. Check for spices and add  more or less of a particular ingredient to your particular liking. Add in the reset of the tomatoes and pulse just a few times, so you have a slight chunk to the mixture.

At this point we served it up in bowls because we were starving ! But, if you prefer to give it a bit of a chill, place the gazpacho in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then serve it up , with your toppings to the side so your guests can customize their gazpacho.

(Adapted from Veggie.com)

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