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So last week took cheffer up to Thirty Bench Wine Makers for the summer winemaker’s lunch.  A good time was had by all.  At least that’s what they told me.  I’ve learned over the years that when you go out and ask the diners, they always say it was wonderful.  I’d love to know what they said in their cars on the way home…

Actually, I have full confidence that a good time was had by all.  A table of 16 would never unanimously demand a recipe for a dish that was mediocre at best!  I recall promising once again, to provide the recipe for our Good Earth Garden Spicy Gazpacho’.  I shortly thereafter recall wondering what the hell I put in it!  The bad news is that my recipe may be slightly different from the soup we made at Thirty Bench.  The good news is, I’ve made this soup about 20 times without using the recipe and it always tastes great, and it always tastes about the same.

As with all of my recipes, so much is variable.  Everything is approximate, and you can substitute anything that you dislike.  Away we go…

2 English cucumbers, 2 red peppers, 6 plum tomatoes, 2 jalapeno peppers – all seeded and diced; 4 ribs celery, 1 baby zucchini, 4 scallions – all diced; 3 Tbsp cilantro – chopped; 1 Tbsp basil – chopped.  6 cups tomato juice, V8, or Clamato Juice (I prefer Mott’s extra spicy); 2 limes – juiced; 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar; 4 Tbsp olive oil; Salt and Pepper – to taste; your favourite hot sauce – to taste.

The method – well that’s very simple.  Combine all ingredients.  Enjoy.

O.K. Now here are a half dozen or so hints to help put the Gazpacho over the top.

1. The more finely you dice the vegetables, the more pride you will have in the final product.

2. You can (if you must) pulse the veg in your food processor.  It will save tons of time, but the final product will not be quite as good, and you’ll feel this tiny little twinge of shame when you eat/serve it.

3. You can add about a half a bulb of finely diced fennel to the soup if you are not a fennel hater.  It will add a great depth of flavour.

4. Make it a seafood Gazpacho.  Add a half pound each of cooked shrimp and crab meat.  You can also add more clam juice, which can be found at most grocery stores.  Especially if you have used tomato juice and not clamato.

5. This one is important.  BEFORE adding the olive oil, use a blender to puree about 1/4 of the soup (veg and juice).  Add this puree back to the soup, it will completely round out both the flavour and texture.  If you add the olive oil first it will change the colour and texture of the soup in an undesirable way (it will emulsify – you’ll be making Gazpacho vinaigrette)

6. Serve ice cold – refrigerate the bowls before portioning.

7. This soup is ALWAYS better the next day, and possibly better the day after that!!

8. If you add vodka to this, I think you could sustain yourself on this and only this for an entire long weekend should you choose.  It’s your food and your drink!  (in this case, add a little celery salt!)

Finally – I posted a recipe in an accurate and timely manner.  That’s not at all like me.

If you were at lunch last Saturday, I hope you enjoyed this soup so much that you will take the time to make it.  If you were not there, make it anyway, it’s really good.

And that’s where Gazpacho comes from.  Chow.

The “blog posting” department of the Good Earth would like to apologize for the less than timely posting of Cheffer’s oh so timely post. Mea culpa!