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Monday, August 8, 2011

Garden Gazpacho

Between my garden and the Farmers market there is an abundance of fresh produce ripening before my very eyes. Expecting guests for lunch today I brought the blender up from the basement, spent some time in the garden picking vegetables and set to work creating this delicious cool summer soup. I call it an Irish gazpacho, because, well, because I made it up and though not exactly true to the Spanish version it deserves some recognition of its own.

I suggest serving this soup chilled with a garnish of chopped chives, scallions and cherry tomatoes to add a bit of chew to the creaminess of the puree and because I left out the garlic and onion so as not to overpower the taste of the other ingredients.

Garden Gazpacho
Yields 5 cups or 1 blender full

3 large yellow tomatoes
6 fresh basil leaves
Handful of parsley tops
1 small green pepper, seeded, chopped
1 sweet banana pepper, seeded, chopped
1 5" cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped (I used a pickling cuke)
1 teaspoon Ume Plum vinegar
3 tablespoons Brown Rice vinegar (or to taste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

1. Slice the tomatoes and squeeze them into a bowl or measuring cup. Make sure to remove all the seeds. Set aside. Slice the tomatoes and put them into the blender.
2. Add the basil, parsley, peppers and cucumber.
3. Place a small strainer over the blender and strain the juice from the inside of the tomatoes into the blender. Press down gently to extract as much of the juice as possible.
4. Add the vinegars, oil and 1/2 a teaspoon of sea salt. (You can add more after the first puree)
5. Puree the ingredients on high until it is well blended and smooth, with no lumps. Season to taste adding more salt or vinegar as needed.
6. Chill well before serving. Serve with minced chives, scallion and cherry tomatoes. You can also hold back some cucumber and pepper to add to each bowl as well.

NOTE: If you do not have Ume Plum vinegar (a salty vinegar) on hand use more salt and some extra rice vinegar. Add small amounts at a time and blend briefly, to get the taste you want.

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