While many of you in North America are shivering in the cold, we’re sweltering in the heat here. Our daily highs are in the mid-30s (the mid-90s F). After dripping sweat all afternoon, the idea of cooking is unappealing.
So we resort to hot-weather foods. Fortunately, the garden makes this easy. One of my favourite cool dinners is gazpacho—a cold vegetable soup. I think there are as many variations on gazpacho as there are cooks, but here’s my version. Serve with crusty bread and butter for a more substantial meal.
5-6 medium tomatoes (about 10 cups, chopped)
2 medium cucumbers
1 small red onion
handful fresh basil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
Peel and coarsely chop the cucumbers. Process in a food processor until finely chopped (not pureed). Remove to a large bowl.
Core and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Process in a food processor until finely chopped. Remove to the bowl with the cucumbers.
Finely chop the onion and basil (I find this easiest by hand, but it can also be done in the food processor). Add to the bowl.
Crush the garlic and add to the bowl, along with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.
*Optional—add a finely chopped jalapeño or a dash of hot sauce.
Mix all ingredients together and chill 2 hours before serving. If you’ve got no time to chill it, add crushed ice to the soup.