Chunky Gazpacho

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I think I may have gotten carried away with Netflix this last week. Okay, I REALLY got carried away this last week. I pretty much tried to make up for those months of non-watching in a 7 day period. Because somehow, in the last weekish I knocked out OITNB, Glee (what!? It was the last season, I had to say goodbye), Scandal (which was sooooooo good) and House of Cards. Can we just pretend that doesn’t equal a gazillion hours with my ass in front of the tv? K thanks. I appreciate you not judging or doing any of the math. Really.

So, what really made the couch a permanent fixture to my backside was that for the first time in my life I got food poisoning. Well presumably, as I didn’t go to the docs, but the internet seemed to have a very good handle on what was happening. And let me tell you, it was awful. I’m pretty sure the crampage was only a few shakes away from labor cramps. They were fetal position, groan worthy. And I’d only wish them on the worst sort of people. I’m actually kind of surprised at how intensely painful they were. Sure, I’ve had an upset stomach, but I’ve never had my insides convinced that it’s armageddon. Thankfully the worst of it lasted only a day, and every day after I felt a little better, but it really took a whole 3-4 days to get back to feeling completely like myself. So in the end my stomach thought the world was ending, Netflix got a decent workout, and well we all survived. But NEVER AGAIN!

And in order to make it up to my tummy, I’ve been trying to fill it with as many whole foods as I can. And this gazpacho screams happy tummy!

I never liked raw tomatoes when I was young except in salsa form. Then when I had to bring a dish to Spanish class in high school, I cracked open the old Saudi Cookbook (a cookbook my parents and a number of expats put together while we were living in Saudi Arabia) and found my Dad’s old gazpacho recipe. I had a faint memory of sort of liking it, and figured why not I’ll make it for class. And that’s when I fell in love with tomatoes.

Over the years I’ve played with the recipe and often like with most dishes, I don’t really measure but just toss it all together and taste. I think we got pretty close. Honestly, I just had to share it now since it’s the perfect time to hit the farmer’s market and snatch up all the tomatoes you can. I figured you would excuse me for not measuring it umpteen times before posting and just getting it out there for you to make since it’s so fresh and delicious no matter how spot on the measurements are.

Foodie Pointers:

Peeling Tomatoes: Just as with peaches, to remove the skins quickly and easily off of tomatoes, simply begin by boiling water in a large stockpot. On the bottom of each tomato make a small “X” incision.

Lightly place tomatoes into boiling water, working in batches if necessary. Let set for 1 minute, or until the skins at the incision look like they are pulling/raising away from the tomato. Remove tomatoes and set directly into a bowl of ice water to cool. If you don’t have ice you can run the tap on a low, cold stream to help keep the water cool. Then, remove one tomato at a time and simply peel the skin off by pulling at one corner of the incision at a time.

Flavor: As the gazpacho sits the flavors will meld and intensify. Even though it’s good to taste before you let it rest in the fridge, it’s going to strengthen so don’t get to carried away with the salt or vinegar. You can always add more later.

Juices: While cutting your tomatoes you are going to find yourself in a puddle of juice. Don’t toss it! Simply add it straight into the gazpacho. I usually cut 2-3 tomatoes then add them and their juices into the bowl so I don’t end up with a mess all over the counter.

Spicy: Want it spicy? Just hit it with some extra Tabasco, we always do 😉

Bell Peppers: Love different bell peppers, such as green or red? Have at it, we prefer the milder taste of the yellow and orange (plus the variety of color), but use what YOU love.

Now there are a lot of gazpachos out there. The reason this one is still my favorite, is because it sticks to whole ingredients and tastes like the ingredients you use. There’s no extra spices for flavor, it’s simple and wholesome. I also prefer the chunky version as I find it more filling and feel good as you can see those fresh bites of tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and greens.

The very first time I made this for my hubby I had to fight him to not eat it with tortilla chips. Now tortilla chips do make sense, and I’m not opposed to munching on a few while you enjoy your gazpacho, but this kid was literally eating the gazpacho like dip. I had a hard time not freaking out on him. Okay, I probably did freak out on him. He’s from the cornfields so he doesn’t always get how certain dishes/foods work. It’s a learning process, and a freaking out process for me. Now, thankfully the chips are gone and it’s just him with the biggest spoon in the drawer and the rapid shoveling maneuver he calls eating.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds assorted tomatoes, peeled & chopped*
  • 5 persian cucumbers, chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers (yellow & orange), chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/3 cup grape seed or olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 cups tomato juice
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon or more red cayenne pepper sauce (Tabasco)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl that has a lid, mix all ingredients including their juices together until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until gazpacho is cold throughout. Enjoy cold.

NOTES:

*I like to use heirloom, roma, and vine tomatoes that I have on hand in the garden. The amount of tomato juice needed is dependent on how much juice your tomatoes give while cutting, and your desired consistency. For a super easy and quick way to peel tomatoes check out the “Foodie Pointers” section of this post.

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