I want my money back. This year it's HOT. Stinkin' hot. Ok, the humidity is probably about 60% instead of 90 or 95, but it's still hot-hot-hot. And we have no air conditioning. Oops. But we do have good air circulation and lots of fans going. We live by 'beach rules': don't go outside between 11 and 2, do anything strenuous in the morning, spend the afternoon in the shade looking for any stray breeze. Wear very little. The only problem with 'beach rules' here is that there's no beach. There's no ocean to cool us off. There's no pool. There's only us and the hot.
How hot? Up to 35 C / 95 F. It cools down to about 20 / 70 at night, though, and we can fill our apartment with cool air in the morning and then keep it cool-ish for a few hours.
All this is to say that cooking is not high on our priority list right now. Eating either. But yesterday I found some really gorgeous tomatoes and some cucumbers. I had some roasted peppers in the pantry. So I made gazpacho.
Gazpacho is one of those dishes that seems easy to make. The recipe is not really important—the ingredients are the main thing. They vary according to the region and the cook. There are always tomatoes. Sometimes the seeds are removed, sometimes they're left in. Sometimes they're peeled, sometimes they're not. There are always cucumbers. Like the tomatoes, they're sometimes de-seeded. Sometimes they're peeled. I used both of these, of course. I peeled but I didn't de-seed.
Normally there are garlic and onion. I left the onion out because raw onion gives me terrible indigestion. If I eat raw onion my husband doesn't want to be around me. I left the raw garlic out because I wanted to be around my husband. It's really good with either or both of these added back in. If it hadn't been so stinkin' hot, I probably would have taken a minute to sauté some garlic and onion. It was good without it, though.
Sometimes there's bread in the gazpacho. It gives it body. I left it out. I wanted something light, cold, and easy to digest. This was it! Hot sauce. I put some hot sauce in it, because I like spicy food. So does Dan, luckily. Not too much, just enough for a little afterburn. (hmmmm...maybe I should have put the onions in there after all.)
Because there are only a few ingredients, I think that they have to be the best you can find. This is the time of year for this dish—the tomatoes are gorgeous, and the cucumbers are lovely. It's time to seize the day and make some gazpacho. I don't know about you, but I don't have the energy to do a lot more than that.
It's too hot.
750 g / 1 ½ pounds tomatoes
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
1 sweet pepper, roasted with the skin removed
2-3 dashes hot sauce
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- Cut the core out of the tomatoes, and put them (the tomatoes) in a large pot.
- Peel the cucumbers and de-seed them if you want. Cut them into large chunks and put them in the pot with the tomatoes.
- Cut the peppers in chunks and add them to the bowl as well.
- Liquefy the vegetables, using whatever tool you have: a food processor, a blender, or an immersion blender.
- Add the vinegar, hot sauce, and salt/pepper to taste.
- Chill for at least 2 hours.
- Serve cold, drizzled with olive oil.
- Makes 1 ½ liters / about 1 ¼ quarts of gazpacho.
Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don't.
- Our cucumbers here are very long—about twice the size of the ones I used to get in the US. If yours are small, you'll probably want two of them. Especially if you decide to remove the seeds.
- I peeled the tomatoes, because I don't like the peel in soup. It's a texture thing. To peel a tomato, cut a little X on the bottom of it, and put it in boiling water for 30-45 seconds. Remove it, let it cool, an the peel will slip off easily.
- I had some roasted peppers in the pantry. If you don't have them, and you don't mind heating up your kitchen, you can roast them yourself. See this recipe for how-to instructions.
- I don't mind the seeds of the tomato or the cucumber in this. If you'd rather not have them, you can strain them out.
- You can add other vegetables to this. I put a little bit of fennel in it, because I like the licorice flavor of fennel. But be careful with it-- a little goes a long way.
- We ate this one night with cold peas in it. YUM!
- Crostini go very well with this. Yeah, I know, Italian and Spanish. We're not afraid to mix cultures or cuisines at our house!
I'm having problems with my Safari again--probably too hot. So the formatting is a little wierd on this post. Sorry.