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Thursday, August 07, 2008


Now that we have all these wonderful fresh homegrown tomatoes, we are trying to think of all our favorite ways to use them - and there are many favorites. My Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer has made a delicious gazpacho - a cooling cold soup of uncooked fresh vegetables that is so thick it is almost like a juicy salad. If it isn't all eaten the first serving, sometimes we add more chopped vegetables into the juicy mix to marinate and try to keep it going. But this year it's going too fast for that.

He used to make it by the recipe he found in James A. Michener's book Iberia. This year he has gone by a recipe he found on the Internet. I would like to give credit where credit is due, but I don't know where he found it.

I have a friend who is a wonderful and talented cook. She is the only person I know who takes cookbooks to bed with her for bedtime reading. Where I'm immersed in garden and horticulture books and magazines, she reads recipes and has an extensive collection of cookbooks. I think there are people who can read music notes printed on paper and "hear" the music in their head. They just somehow know how it sounds. Jewel is that way about recipes she reads; she just knows how it will taste.

In case you are like my friend, I will copy the recipe here for your pleasure and enjoyment.


1 pound (lb)/450 g fresh tomatoes
1/2 lb/225 g green bell peppers
1 cucumber
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 oz/50 g good white bread baguette, 2 to 3 days old
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 oz/90 ml olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Ice cubes

(To Garnish)
2 tomatoes, skinned, diced small
1/2 green pepper, diced small
1/4 peeled cucumber, diced small
toasted baguette (bread) cubes

The soup also classically has hard boiled egg as an accompaniment and these garnishes are served separate in little bowls to be added as desired.

Skin the tomatoes and cut into quarters.
Remove seeds and stalks from peppers.
Peel the cucumber and cut into chunks and prepare the other garnishes.
Tear up the bread and soak it in water for 30 minutes and then squeeze it dry.
Blend all the ingredients.
Chill for at least an hour.
Pour into large bowl with some ice, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve garnishes in separate little bowls on the table, so that guests can sprinkle on their own toppings.
Serve chilled.

This makes a wonderful cold dish for hot-summertime meals.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful healthy & refreshing dish on a hot summer day. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

JGH said...

Sounds fantastic - especially with the bread, which I've never put in it. I like to make a tomato salad called "Salade tomate" It's just cubed tomatoes with olive oil, parsely, hard boiled eggs and lemon juice, salt & pepper. I swear, the bread dipped in the juice is more fun than the salad itself.

Your other post scared me. I'm totally afraid to find out the reading level of my blog!!

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Sounds like a great lunch for a hot day.

lacey said...

Mmm...sounds yummy! I just love making (and eating!) anything with tomatoes :)

Cindy said...

I just love gazpacho and I haven't made it in years. Your post on it reminded me that I need to make it again. Now if I can just get some tomatoes to ripen....

Cinj said...

What a great way to make use of those tomatoes. I like to have a good variety of foods so I don't get tired of eating the same old thing. Apparently Cheeshead and the kids don't have the same problem though. I'm easing them into the transition gently, but maybe I'll try this recipe next summer with some of our own home grown (hopefully) tomatoes!

Ewa said...

Sounds like wondeful recipe - thank you for inspiration. As I am not so interested in cooking, any good and checked recipe 'caught' on the way is a gift :)
I also don't know anybody that takes recipe book to bed :)

mrtumnas said...

There's an English lady at our local farmer's market who makes the most awesome gazpacho like ever. Never thought of making it myself though. I think I'll give your recipe a try this week.

Yolanda said...

Hello Barbee,
Thank you for visiting and commenting on my newbie blog. Been having fun going here and there in yours. May I add you as a virtual relative in mine?
I would love it if visitors there would get a chance to come here too.

Barbee' said...

Perennial Gardener (Virginia, U.S.A.): Thank you. I think I made myself hungry with that one!

JGH (New York, U.S.A.): Thanks for that recipe, too. Sounds very similar, easy and yummy. Ah... come on try the other post.. couldn't be any worse than mine! :)

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom (Texas, U.S.A.): Yes, especially if I can con Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer into putting it together for us.

lacey (Oregon): Me, too, but some people do not like tomatoes. We have a son who does not. He said he gets his tomatoes in the form of ketchup, salsa, and spaghetti sauce.

cindy (Oregon, U.S.A.): Good luck with your tomatoes. We became impatient with waiting for ours, so we have visited the Farmers' Market a few times in the interim.

Cinj (Wisconsin, U.S.A.): In a way, your family's eating habits make it easier for you; at least I would think it would. I bet if you make a little bowl of it for yourself, they will soon be in it. Reminds me of an event that amused me: Our 4 children would not drink tomato juice so I seldom bought it. Once while on a trip we were eating breakfast in the hotel dining room. I ordered tomato juice for myself. When our food was served one of the bunch (don't remember who) asked for a sip. Well, of course if one does something they all have to do it. The little stinkers wound up drinking almost all of my tomato juice!

ewa (Poland): You are welcome for the recipe. I am not so interested in cooking, either. I do very quick and simple foods; prefer cheese to meat; and haven't followed a recipe in a long time.

mrtumnas (Louisiana, U.S.A.): It isn't too difficult, and it is nice to have in the refrigerator to dip into. The one he originally made by Michener's recipe was more complicated with many different ingredients.

Barbee' said...

yolanda (New Jersey, U.S.A.): You certainly may. And, going around visiting the blogs of others' and leaving comments like this is a topnotch way to get bloggers to notice you... especially when I brag on you like this: Your up-close photo of the dragonfly is the most perfect, and perfectly beautiful, one I have ever seen of that subject, and I have seen some exquisite ones. I suspect he will appear in one of your textiles. (Your work reminds me of the nineteenth century Aesthetic movement, not that it is like it, it just reminds me of it.) As might the potential design in the 5th photo from the top, beautiful!

Kerri said...

Hello Barbee! The soup sounds delicious, but we're having a cool, rainy day, and hot tomato soup (and perhaps a grilled cheese sandwich) sounds good to me today. However, I had an egg salad sandwich made from a pretty brown egg...one of a dozen given to us by neighbors.
Thanks for the recipe.
My garden is keeping me much too busy, but the rain is giving me a break, and time to catch up with a few dear blog friends today.
I hope you're enjoying some sunny, and not-too-hot days in your garden.

Marta McDowell said...

Lovely! The tomatoes are coming in fast and furious in Jersey too.

I had a tomato dish the other day at a party that was delicious:
Each slice of tomato was topped by black olive tapenade, a small slice of soft goat cheese and drizzled with mustard that had some honey whipped into it.
A bit messy for finger food but great with knife and fork.

Brenda Jean said...

Hello! Wow, a husband that cooks-- how wonderful, and the recipe sound yummy too! I planted late so I don't have tomatoes yet:(

Barbee' said...

Kerri (New York, U.S.A.): Wish we could mix up some of the temperature patches and get a nice temperate one for all of us to work in. Knowing you, and how hard you work, you probably needed a few hours off to rest and catch up indoors. Your egg salad sounds good. That's something we haven't had this spring and summer. Must make a mental note. Several bloggers have chickens, and I love reading their blogs when they write about them. Some are quite amusing. All are interesting.

Marta McDowell (New Jersey, U.S.A.): Oh, my, that sounds good! The tapenade alone spread on something would be delicious, that combination would be memorable. I guess it was, or you wouldn't have told us about it. :)

Barbee' said...

Brenda Jean (Michigan, U.S.A.): Yes, he's a keeper! Ours are coming in now, but for awhile we bought tomatoes from the Farmers' Market... just couldn't wait.

VP said...

Hi Barbee,

Just stopping by to say hi and thanks for your visit over at my place. Your supportive comment was much appreciated.

Have a great weekend :)

VP said...

Forgot to add that I love Gazpacho - it always reminds me of holidays in Spain, where it's just the thing for lunch on a baking hot day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbee'! I had to laugh when I read your comment about Jewel (and also the one about chickens!). I too love to go to sleep reading a good cookbook---so relaxing and delightful!---and I too can look at a recipe and know not just how it will look, taste, etc., but also how I can tweak it to take it from good to great. That's why I call myself an intuitive rather than a by-the-book cook!

Barbee' said...

VP (England): Thank you for stopping by, and for leaving a comment. Spain?... I'll have to take your word for it, but it sounds wonderful!

ourfriendben (Pennsylvania, U.S.A.): Ben? Is that you?? I thought it was Silence when I first saw the message. Taking good to great with a tweak, that is what I can never do. You and Jewel have a special talent.

Philip Bewley said...

We love gazpacho! So incredibly good for you,too!
I love it as a Spanish themed meal,too. We like to start with blanched almonds which are then fried in oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. Serve warm. Yum!
I have to say, I just loved your comment about how some people just can read a cookbook and know how it tastes. There are gardeners who can see the whole vision of what is planted when everyone just sees a few pokey things with sticks! I am that way every spring when I describe to friends what the whole effect will be. Gardeners understand, but others kind of wrinkle their brow! too funny!
Best Regards,

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbee -
I love gazpacho too.
My maternal grandmother was from Spain and we often had it for supper with bread.

Barbee' said...

What a great bunch of comments! I think the comments are more interesting than the post. Now, let me think... what can I post about next that will precipitate more interesting comments.

More continental input and ideas follow... granny miller and philip bewley:

philip bewley (California, U.S.A.): Almonds.. I love almonds! They are good for us, too. I never would have thought of serving them as a starter before the gazpacho. The things I learn here; you broaden my horizons.

I know exactly what you mean about people who can, and people who cannot, visualize the future stages of gardens. I can. (I always thought it was because I'm a dreamer.) And, that is why it is so pleasant to chat with gardeners like yourself. We gardeners are pretty much on the same brain wave length. A shared pleasure. As L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables would have said, "a kindred spirit".

granny miller (Pennsylvania, U.S.A): There is nothing like a grandmother's cooking. You were experiencing and being served the real thing!

George Africa said...

Summer is not summer to me without gazpacho but we are having a difficult time this year in Vermont. It has rained more than half the days, flooding has been a major problem, and things like tomatoes and cukes are doomed.

Gardeners with a CSA are pulling leeks and onions now to avoid rot and members have been limited on food this year. Even the early potatoes that are so good in that first potato salad are small and scaly.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener

Barbee' said...

George Africa (Vermont, U.S.A.): That is sad news about a grim situation. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad! It is nice to not have to water everything, but too much of anything is, well, just too much.

Amy said...

Oh yum! I'll have to try this sometime. I have tons and tons of green tomatoes that look very promising. I'm hoping against hope that they ripen before the frost comes!