Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tipsy Gazpacho

Gazpacho is one of those things I can't say I've ever craved... not once have I said "Yanno what sounds good right now? A bowl full of mushed up cold vegetables." I'm not a tomato or vegetable juice kinda gal, either. Yet, at the same time, I've been tempted to make it. It's one of those recipes I'd like to be able to say I've made, even if I make it once and never again.

We've had a stretch of decidedly sultry weather the past few days and I had originally planned on making chile verde for dinner tonight, but the thought of turning on the oven, or even the slow cooker, was just too much for me. So I asked B for ideas that did not involve heat and he said gazpacho. *blink* Well, it wasn't my first choice (going out to eat would've been nice :P ), but I did happen to have the ingredients in the fridge, so why not?

I started with a recipe found in my favorite vintage cookbook, Betty Crocker's New Picture Cookbook from 1961. As is my habit, I didn't stick strictly to the recipe, and made some 'improvements' along the way... the end result came out much tastier than I expected it to be! I was obviously also craving a martini as I made it, because I decided to add martini olives (instead of vinegar) and a splash of vermouth (for it's floral-y/herbal-y flavor). Those two additions really brightened up the flavor and took it from "meh" to "wow" for me. This is, of course, a recipe that lends itself very well to alterations... you can try any variety of veggies, herbs, juice or other add-ins that strike your fancy. I imagine a bit of beet juice would be amazing in this, both for color and depth of flavor.

If you're trying to beat the heat, or just looking for a way to work more alcohol into your diet, give this one a try:

Tipsy Gazpacho
1 cup vegetable stock
1 small can (156 ml) V-8 juice
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
5 large pimento-stuffed green olives
2-3 tbsp olive juice
1/4 cup dry vermouth

Put all ingredients in a bowl and blend using an immersion blender, or run through a normal blender or food processor. Blend to desired smoothness (I prefer mine smoother rather than lumpy) and chill thoroughly. Serve in bowls, preferably over ice to keep it cool. Garnish with a dash of Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce, and a sprinkle of chopped greens such as bell pepper or parsley. And don't forget the martini to go with! *hic* ;)

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