Today, we have a special guest post from Rachel over at Mañana Mama. Rachel shares with us her family recipe of gazpacho, perfect for the weather we're having here in England.
Truffle and Frangelico - brave souls that they are - had Chaos HQ over to lunch recently. It was such a hot day that Londoners spilled into the streets, laughing and eating with unrestrained joy.
We four grown-ups drank cold coronas and ate a delicious meal courtesy of Truffle and Jamie: lime-chilli chicken, rocket, sweet potato mash with feta and coriander, followed by the famous C&T crème brulée. In the background, Chaos and Destruction methodically ransacked Trungelico's beautiful grown-up flat.
Ali scaled furnature, headbutted the table, then casually tried to toss the TV remote out the window. Ana ran in circles, and squares, and any other shapes she could think of. Amid all this activity, Truffle and I managed a brief chat about that pinnacle of summertime eats: gazpacho. And I was reminded of Great-grandma Barbara's famous recipe, which is a seasonal staple in our house. Belatedly, but as promised that afternoon, I am passing it on here.
Tomatoes for gazpacho
What makes this recipe stand out from other gazpacho recipes is the handful of breadcrumbs (preferably sourdough) added to the mix – which just gives it that extra thickness and flavour. Gazpacho is easy, quick, and can be stored in the fridge for days – the flavours seem to soak together better over time. Kids love it – as far as they are concerned it's not a million miles from ketchup or tinned tomato soup – the two pillars of their civilization (they don't have hugely sophisticated palates, kids).
6 cups tomatoes (chunks or canned)
1 small onion
1/2 cup green pepper chunks
1/2 cucumber chunks
2 cups tomato juice
1 garlic minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
dash of pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sourdough or french bread crumbs
Add as topping:
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions
1/2 finely chopped green peppers
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumbers
You can also make it with yellow tomatoes and orange pepper (and without the tomato juice if you want it to stay more yellow in colour). I made it this way last summer when I found myself surrounded by a glut of yellow tomatoes that I didn't know what to do with, and it was very tasty - a sweeter, fruitier alternative to the classic gazpacho.
Gazpacho was always on offer during a summertime visit to the home of Lyle and Barbara. Barbara was a great cook, and her collection of recipes has an honoured, if food-spattered place in our home.
Several summers ago we sat with Barbara at her table for the last time. We ate gazpacho and stared out at the grape arbor-dome of her beautiful garden. It was on that visit that Barbara met Ana, her first great-grandchild.
Last summer I tried my hand at the gazpacho. Lyle flew in to meet Ali, his second great-granddaughter. He sat at our table and ate gazpacho with us. He called our disorganised backyard jungle a 'wall of green' – which was a generous thing for him to say, as he and Barbara both qualified as master gardeners.
Gardening is much, much easier work in England than in the American southwest. Even so, Lyle and Barbara invariably tended a seasonal garden full of roses and grapes, tomatoes and basil, flourishing like Eden in the baking, parched clay of New Mexico summer.
I will always think of Lyle and Barbara in gazpacho season. Lyle tells me that is is currenlty cultivating his huge annual crop of tomatoes. If previous years are anything to go by, they will be the most beautiful tomatoes for miles around. I envy his lucky neighbours, who will surely be enjoying gazpacho for weeks on end this summer.