Eating sunshine

It’s been a busy August, but that’s what tomatoes are for … to overwhelm you with their abundance and color and “eat me now!”-ness.

Friends took a breather with me Monday night, and we had the real communion of food and conversation … the abundance of tomatoes on my counter called out an old favorite, Nan’s Gazpacho. Nan is my former mother-in-law and still my friend; this cold soup ransacked my tastebuds the first time I had it, and I think my adulterated version is even better. My friend Randy asked for the recipe, so here it is for all of you. If your CSA or farmer’s market is overflowing with the grace of ripe-now tomatoes, here’s your sign!

Tomato lust

Nan’s Gazpacho (with adulterations!)

6-8 fresh tomatoes (get the juice and seeds into the bowl!)
1 cucumber, peeled (seeded if you want)
1 poblano pepper (jalapeño for heat-seekers, bell or banana peppers for wimps)
1 bunch green onions (at least six, use white and green parts)

Dice (into uniformly sized chunks) the above into a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the following together or shake in a jar:

1 can seasoned, diced tomatoes (Muir Glen organic with chipotle seasoning is my favorite; Rotel or plain store-brand or your own preserves will do)
1 cup V8 or tomato juice or tomato sauce
2 T vinegar (I use white wine vinegar; unseasoned rice wine vinegar would work too)
3 T olive oil
1 T garlic paste (or a couple of cloves chopped, or 1 t garlic powder)
2 T Worcestershire
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the “dressing” over the diced ingredients, and let it sit for an hour if you can wait that long. Some like it cold; Nan not only refrigerated it, she would serve it in chilled bowls! She’s all awesome like that.

Other options: Use Bloody Mary mix instead of the tomato juice. Offer Tabasco or other pepper sauce on the side. Chop avocado and toss with lemon juice; either incorporate or offer on the side in case you have non-avocado fans.

My favorite way to eat it is with blue corn tortilla chips and goat feta. And a gluten-free Daura beer! Woot!

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