Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunny in California

Funny, games are being rained out, snow in the Rockies, but here in Southern California, we are touching the 90 degree mark. I still have tomatoes and peppers in my garden so it was a good day for a cool, refreshing Gazpacho! This is my garden and you can see the beds are sparse but there is still some things going on in there.
So I thought I would share this recipe because it is so easy and delicious and you can take it and add, subtract whatever you want to give your own twists.
2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into a dice
1 cup of diced carrot
1/2 of a large red onion, diced
2 bell peppers,. diced you decide on the colors you like
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 - 2 tbsp horseradish
5 - 10 dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
1/4 fresh chopped parsley and basil, combined
1 bottle of your favorite tomato juice or vegetable juice, about 8 cups
good drizzle of you favorite Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cut up all the vegetables so they are the same size, I like a 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice and mince the garlic and jalapeno really small, you want the flavor not to take a bite of them, you could even grate them if you like. Put them all in a container that you can cover, add the remaining ingredients except for the tomato juice, herbs and oil. Let the vegetables sit for about 15 minutes to let all those flavors sit together.  Add the tomato juice and herbs, stir well, cover and refrigerate. It is best to let it sit overnight so the flavor can fully develop. Give a  nice big drizzle of your olive oil and stir. Taste and then decide if you want more pepper or if you want to add salt. Serve as is, with crusty bread or really great with bbq'd shrimp!

Some of the variations include adding fennel, chopped fresh tomatoes, avocado or jicama.  Some of the traditional approaches include adding a couple of slices to the juice before adding to the vegetables and place it in the blender to add some thickness or adding some of the chopped vegetables to the juice in a blender for the same purpose. Another interesting addition is popcorn!  Try this one anytime, it is FABULOUS

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