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Easy Summer Gazpacho

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Cold gazpacho soup

One of the great thing about growing your own fruit and vegetables is that you get to shop in your garden.  This year was really good for tomatoes, cucumbers, chili etc. The challenge is that they tend to ripen all at the same time.   So what can you do when you have lots of tomatoes in your garden? What dishes can you quickly prepare to take advantage of your bumper crop?

You could can tomatoes or roast them but that’s a lot of work (cleaning the jars, blanching the tomatoes, peeling them, sealing the jars etc.) You may not be up to that! You could make a big tomato salad but how many tomatoes can you eat? A summer favorite in our house is “bruschetta”.  Seasoned diced tomatoes with fresh basil on toasted french bread! Yum! But again, what to do after you run out of baguette?

That is where gazpacho comes in.  A cold and refreshing soup! It originates from the South of Spain, in the Andalucia region and is usually served with stale bread, olives and olive oil. There is nothing easier to make and you can prepare it the day before so that the flavors blend overnight. It can be really colorful if you have yellow, orange and red tomatoes. Take advantage of abundant fresh basil. In Spain, they often filter the soup after blending it so that it is pretty liquid. I personally prefer a thicker soup. So I blend half of it and keep the rest in small chunks.

So here is the recipe (serves 4-5 people)

INGREDIENTS
6-8 ripe tomatoes quartered
2 medium cucumbers (peeled, seeded and roughly chopped) 
4 stalks of celery chopped coarsely
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
4 Tbl red wine vinegar
4 Tbl virgin olive oil
2 Tbl soy sauce
1-2 tsp chili powder
Sea salt
French baguette

 PREPARATION

  1. Slice the baguette in thin slices and lightly toast until done. Set aside.
  2. Mix the chopped tomatoes, celery, cucumber, basil, vinegar, oil, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce in a large bowl.
  3. Pour half into a blender (I use my handy dandy Vitamix).

    (A Vitamix is a little pricey but totally worth the investment. I have had mine for more than 15 years and it is still going strong! But if you are on a tighter budget, there are other good options).
    Ninja Professional Blender (BL660)

  4. Pulse a few times only to obtain a chunky texture. You can do the same with the other half if you prefer a more liquid soup. For a thicker soup, just pour the blended half into the other half. Add the oil, salt and pepper and gently mix with a spoon.
  5. You can eat right away but it is better to refrigerate for a few hours or a day ahead.
  6. Laddle the gazpacho in nice small bowls (chilled on a very hot summer day). Garnish with a few slices of bread, fresh chopped basil and drizzle a little olive oil.
    This has to be the fastest soup in the West! Under 10 minutes from refrigerator to bowl!

    Bon appetit !

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As a vegan chef, cooking instructor and food consultant, I am blessed to share my passion for international flavors, a compassionate world, optimal health and healing. You can't have one without the others because they are all interconnected. My culinary journey started in the South of France where I was born, then took me through Europe, onto America, then Asia and South America. I grew up eating delicious rich food my grandmother made (think creamy white and wine sauces) and fresh Mediterranean dishes my mother prepared. My family was by no mean vegetarian or vegan but we weren’t big meat eaters either. This being said, I must confess that I have had my fair share of strange things being served as food as I grew up! But I soon came to realize that it was the sauces, the marinade that tasted so good and that they could have just as well been poured over bread or tofu and it would have been just as good. You know how certain songs bring back a memory of where you were and who you were with when you heard them? Well, I seem to have a memory of food attached to pretty much every place and profound moment I have experienced in my life. It was the way love was shared and cherished all through my life so I am continuing the tradition! But the love is even more healing when there is no pain and sufferings attached to it. Be vegan, it is good for your health and the only sustainable diet for the planet.
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