Dear readers, I would like you to meet Gazpacho, one of my tomato plants. He's a little quiet, but he'll grow on you. (AhahahahaHAHAHA!) He lives in my backyard with Mojito and Margherita I and II. One day, I shall eat him.
In an effort to make sure he meets a noble end, I tried the gazpacho recipe that I perfected last summer, while I was hiding from the New York State Bar Exam. The gazpacho was just as tangy, refreshing as I remembered, and I didn't suffer any post-traumatic-stress-disorder flashbacks of Bar Exam studying while I enjoyed it, which is a huge bonus.
(See, everyone who's studying for the Bar right now? I made it out okay. Also, all the Bar-Prep courses are designed to scare the bejesus out of you. The real thing will be easier. I promise.)
Sure I passed the Bar Exam, but I like to think that my real accomplishment last summer was eating at least 25 incarnations of gazpacho from May thru August, and still wanting a big bowl of it (with extra basil, sour cream, and grilled cheese bread, thank you) today.
Gazpacho (Cold Tomato Soup) with Cucumbers, Garlic, and Balsamic
6 larger tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped [See note below]
1 purple onion, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
10 leaves basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup of water
1/8 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste [black pepper, white pepper, cayenne—use your favorite]
Add all the ingredients to a large non-metal bowl, and stir to incorporate all of the different vegetables. Put 1/3 of the mixture in a blender/food processor and blend until slightly liquid, then move to a 2nd non-metal bowl (or large air-tight container) Continue with the remaining portions, blending less each time--the final blended batch should be a chunkier puree. Cover and refrigerate overnight, so the flavors can blend. Serve with your favorite garnishes and some hot sauce.
Peeling & Seeding tomatoes:
Bring a large pot of water (2/3 full) to a boil. Add tomatoes 3 at a time, and boil for 30 seconds. Remove tomatoes, and cool. Pierce tomato skins with a sharp knife, or score the tops with an X and the skins should come off easily. Cut the top off the tomato, and using your thumbs, gently squeeze the seeds out of the seed pockets.[This is the grossest, messiest part, but it’s worth it]