Gazpacho was made for women who do half an hour of cardio, walk the dog, and pull weeds in succession all in 80 degree weather. There is nothing better than sitting your sweaty self down with a bowl of tangy, ice-cold goodness after working hard. Last summer, this was the food I fantasized about. I loved the colors and the promise of acidic flavors and the allure of fresh veggies. Everyone on the internet waxed poetic about it and sat on their balconies eating this stuff with a glass of wine and some crusty bread. Serious Eats featured a fresh veggie recipe and a grilled and chilled concoction. Pioneer Woman made it with toppings like grilled shrimp, avocado, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream. Wow. The Kitchn even offered a listing of other cold soups in case you tired of the tomato based variety. So here I am, a year late to the party. The problem was that last summer I didn’t have a food processor to chop the veggies up superfine and I wasn’t about to do all of it by hand. Plus, I wasn’t sure how well it would blend if I just mixed it up. My food processor is an old-school GE model that I found at Family Thrift for $20 in February. I wandered around with it in my arms for half and hour debating it’s worth until someone else started eyeing it and I decided it was mine.
I don’t regret it. I’ve used my processor for a million batches of homemade salsa and for shredding the 5 pound block of cheese that my husband bought for enchiladas. Habits of a military childhood die hard. Once a month I find myself in the grocery store asking, “Where are we going to put 10 gallons of [mayonnaise, pickles, salsa, other foods sold in bulk for restaurants serving 100+ people purposes] darling?” Oh well. Thank goodness for the shredder on the food processor or my wrists would have fallen off from manually shredding it all.
Okay, Gazpacho. I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe. Who wouldn’t? I think I like more Tabasco and a little more vinegar in mine, but I used her exact measurements to start– minus one clove of garlic– and then adjusted from there. Nothing against garlic, it’s just that between half a raw red onion and two cloves of garlic no one was going to talk to us for a month. The first time I made it I was talking on the phone and poured WAY too much vinegar in. But it was an easy save because the soup wasn’t boiling or being stirred. I just scooped out the area I had poured the vinegar into and viola! most of the vinegar wound up in the measuring cup and spared the rest of the recipe. The only extra topping I added was sour cream.
This recipe is great for someone on a serious diet, so the sour cream makes it feel richer and like maybe you won’t pass out later because all you had for dinner was liquefied salad. But it’s good. The flavors are surprisingly complex for a raw dish and it’s an easy make-ahead meal. And as you eat it you might think of romantic warm evenings on the back porch and dinner parties and all the other light summer foods you love (leave them in the comments?) Or you might just be glad that you have something cold in your gullet after all that hard work.