Times like these I wish I had a vegetable garden. I can’t help but envy my neighbor’s tomato plants or my colleague who comes to work with fresh-picked lettuces. However, in my heart of hearts I know, I’m just not a plant person. I like to eat them well enough, but when it comes to coaxing things out of the soil, my thumb is more brown than green.
Fortunately, there are grocery stores and farmer’s markets bursting with nice produce. Tomatoes are a favorite this time of year. Isn’t it funny how a great tomato can just burst with flavor while a bad tomato can be a mealy anemic mess? There’s no in-between with tomatoes. They’re like that girl with the curl in her forehead. When they’re good they’re really, really good, and when they’re bad, they’re horrid.
Between the heat and my recent move, cooking hasn’t exactly been a priority. But a gazpacho post caught my eye the other day, and I knew something cold and vegetable based was just what I needed.
Technically, this is not gazpacho. People always think that gazpacho is tomato-based, but in fact what makes gazpacho gazpacho is the inclusion of bread, usually stale bread. This recipe has none of that because there isn’t a single crumb of bread in my house at the moment.
I’m not really sure what to call this though. “Tomato-based vichyssoise” seemed too complicated for such a simple dish. “Liquid salad” was too cliche. What about calling it what it is- not gazpacho? Hmmm… OK. Regardless of what you call it, I think you’ll agree that this refreshing and bold concoction is just the thing for a sultry summer night.
(inspired by Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook)
8 top-notch tomatoes
1 medium-sized onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 large cucumber, peeled
3 celery stalks
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup vinegar of your choice (I did half white and half cider)
1 Tablespoon sherry (optional)
drizzle of best-quality olive oil
Chop all your veggies into large chunks and put into a food processor. Give it a whirl and transfer contents to a large bowl. Add stock, salt, vinegar, lime juice and sherry and stir well. Serve in individual cups with a drizzle of olive oil.