Last week, the Northwest was hit with a heat wave that I can only describe as obscene. Normally, this wouldn't bother my San Fernando Valley native body, but there is a conspicuous lack of air conditioning in these parts. It was unpleasant, to say the least.
In the days that it was too hot to function, I missed my time in the kitchen. When the temperatures started cooling off again, I decided to make gazpacho to celebrate my return to life. I picked up produce (tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and garlic) from the Farmers Market on my lunch break that day (my husband surprised me there with a bouquet of mini sunflowers...awww). Served with some crusty bread, this was the perfect end-of-heatwave summer dinner.
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
3 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), cored and quartered
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped coarsely
2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, and chopped coarsely (Amy's note: dogs love cucumber seeds)
5 cups tomato juice
1 small onion, minced finely
1/2 cup wine vinegar (Amy's note: I used white wine vinegar, the original recipe calls for sherry vinegar, I think red wine vinegar would be nice too)
2 small or 1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, plus more to taste
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until finely chopped, about 12 pulses. Transfer to a large bowl. Pulse the bell peppers and cucumbers until finely chopped, about 15 pulses. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Stir in the tomato juice, onion, vinegar, garlic, Tabasco, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. Place bowls in the refrigerator to chill.
2. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into chilled bowls and sprinkle with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil (if desired) before serving.