Yesterday we were in the big city, Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. Albuquerque is larger, but who wants to drive another hour just to roast in the desert heat? Most of my favorite stores are in Santa Fe and it's less hectic, unless you make a wrong turn and end up driving/trapped in the plaza along with all the other hapless chumps stuck in their cars. I envied the tourists on the portal (that's a covered porch) of the Hotel Saint Francis, reclining, having afternoon drinks and watching the people and the cars creep around the plaza.
All of the above has nothing to do with this recipe, except while stuck in the plaza traffic I imagined myself under that portal with a cup of gazpacho at my elbow, it's tomato-ness cooling me, reminding me that I was a classy lady of leisure. There was a glass of cold white wine there, too, somewhere.
Trudy Boyle, my amazing mom-in-law, has been whirring up fresh tomato juice each morning in the blender for husband Pat and their house guest who will remain unnamed because he doesn't want to be in this blog. She peels the tomatoes before she blends them and they are cherry tomatoes!
When Trude mentioned that the juice was pretty thick, I started thinking about gazpacho, something I haven't eaten for several years.
It's a chilled tomato soup, originally from Spain, but don't be afraid to try a cold soup. I was, but it was a weird idea that all soups must be hot. They don't!
This gazpacho is perfect for lunch, a cool dinner with grilled cheese sandwiches, or just when you are on the veranda or portal whiling away an afternoon, watching the world go by.
Gazpacho, Santa Fe Style
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, or 2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1/2 green or sweet red pepper
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 c olive oil
1 T vinegar (balsamic is nice, but any kind will do)
1 c tomato juice
Salt to taste
1 4 oz can diced green chiles or 1/2 cup if you have some of your own (for lightweights, use mild chiles or substitute 1/4 c chopped basil)
Ice cubes (optional)
Dice half of the tomatoes, holding tomatoes over a large bowl to capture all the juice. Also dice half the cucumber, half the pepper, and half the onion. Set aside.
Put the rest of the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and pepper into a blender along with the garlic, olive oil, vinegar, tomato juice, salt to taste and green chile. Blend for a few seconds. Pour into the bowl holding the chopped vegetables and mix well. Cover and chill for about an hour. Serve with 2 or 3 ice cubes if it's a little thick. Top with croutons and a spring of cilantro if you've been watching too much MasterChef. Serves 6 to 8