Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gazpacho - The Official Soup of Summer

Gazpacho - a soup you can dig into!

What could be luckier on a hellishly hot day than finding bits and pieces of vegetables in the fridge to transform into a cool and refreshing dinner? Well, there's only one thing I can think of, and that's having a Vita-Mix blender to whirl all the vegetables into a zesty, refreshing bowl of Gazpacho.

I have Joanne Weir to thank for my Vita-Mix. No, she didn't give it to me. I wish! But she did wax poetic about Vita-Mix in a cooking class I took with her once at Ramekins in Sonoma. I flew right home and ordered one. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I think my husband probably bought it for me.

There is nothing better than a Vita-Mix for turning fruits and vegetables into juices, smoothies, sauces or purees. In fact, aside from a good washing, most produce doesn't need more than a rough chunk/chop and then right into the blender container. No nutrients lost in peeling or prepping. Yep, seeds and all. Just put the cover on and whirl away.

And clean-up is just as easy. Just rinse and then fill the container with some water and a few drops of liquid dish detergent. Turn it on for a few seconds to remove all evidence that you might be sneaking a few vegetables into dinner. And no pulp to scrape, or puzzle of pieces to take apart and reassemble.

Admittedly, a Vita-Mix is an investment, but it is so much more than a blender, or food processer for that matter, that it's worth it. If all you want is a frozen Margarita, then a Vita-Mix may be overkill. But if you want to make baby food, soft foods for special diets, vegan or vegetarian foods, nut butters, sauces, soups, or flours from whole grains for baking, then you'll want a Vita-Mix for years and years of great nutritious food.

Gazapacho is one of the special treats of summer--so fast and easy to make with almost any combination of vegetables and tomatoes. I subbed a can of diced tomatoes for fresh ones and left out cucumbers, simply because I didn't have either, and it was too hot to drive to the market. Therefore, the recipe below should serve as inspiration for your own unique blend of available ingredients.

But what luck if you do have a Vita-Mix blender to turn whatever vegetables you have into a perfect hot weather meal, before they even lose that soothing, delicious chill from the refrigerator!

Note: I don't work for Vita-Mix, or receive any compensation from them. I just love my Vita-Mix!

My trusty Vita-Mix 5000!

1 can diced tomatoes
1 rib celery
1 roasted red pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green onion
1 1-inch thick slice purple onion
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
splash of good olive oil
several drops of good balsamic vinegar
Spike seasoning
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt
Greek yogurt and/or pesto, for garnish

Pour all ingredients into container of Vita-Mix blender and process until reduced to thick liquid; adjust seasonings to taste. Pour into a bowl and top with dollops of yogurt and pesto and serve immediately, or chill before serving. Serves 2 to 4.


Cate O'Malley said...

Looks like the perfect way to celebrate the season and beat the heat!

Kalyn Denny said...

Lucky you to have a Vita-Mix. I love gazpacho, can't wait until I have fresh tomatoes to make it.

Cora said...

A little bit early for tomatoes from our gardens here. I just had to rush the season since temps were in the mid-90's all week and it was almost too hot to eat . . . almost!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I love my Vita-Mix, and I love gazpacho! If I have some old bread lying around (which is usually), I put that in the gazpacho too.

Cora said...

Susan, I would just expect to find bread in your gazpacho! Good bread!

Sarah Caron said...

Mmm! I love gazpacho in the summertime. I cannot wait for the tomatoes here to ripen so we can make some and enjoy it too.

BMK said...

I'll have to try your recipe next time I attempt gazpacho. I like your topping suggestions too.

Cora said...

Sarah, one major advantage to enduring the heat and humidity of Southern Illinois, to be sure, is the long tomato growing season.

BMK, do try the pesto sauce with the gazpacho. Don't know why I didn't think of it before.