Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I’m not scared of a little tomato

Just yesterday my husband noted that I've fixed all tomato-based meals this past week: gazpacho, pasta with spinach and tomatoes, tomatoes and mozzarella... the list goes on. While tomatoes are piling up at grocery stores across the nation in the midst of the 2008 tomato scare, I'm one of the few loading them into my cart. I don't know whether I feel bad for the tomato farmers or I'm simply getting that summer hankering for really good, ripe tomatoes; but nonetheless, I've thrown caution to the wind and am devouring them every chance I get! I'm not completely foolhardy– I am staying away from the ones the FDA has warned against, but I simply can't turn my back on tomatoes altogether. If you (and your guests), like to live dangerously as well, then perhaps you'll enjoy the gazpacho recipe below, taken from Ina Garten's first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa

The best part about this recipe is that it is really hard to mess up. You can put in more or less of something you like or don't like, without having to be particular about quantities. If you have a food processor, it is SUPER easy, since it will save you from lots of chopping. Just be careful...I went a bit over on the processing, and while it was still good, I would have preferred it to be a bit chunkier (see my version pictured above). This makes a LOT, so you will probably have some leftover (always a bonus, in my opinion).

It's perfect for a summer gathering!


2 cucumbers, halved and seeded, but not peeled
3 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
8 plum tomatoes
2 red onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
46 ounces of tomato juice
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 t freshly ground pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess! 

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.


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