Gentle readers, I’m in a long-term relationship with tomatoes. I have tried to deny it, avoid it, and cover it up. I feel the same way about peaches, kiwi fruit, and cantaloupe, but the truth is out there. I feel soooo much better now. As a result, I have a deep, almost nonverbal, adoration of the lady who runs the fruit and vegetable market where I buy my produce.
When I moved to Spain, I wisely brought over two appliances: a small crock pot/slow cooker and an angry little blender. While I love leftovers, the crockpot is the right size so that I don’t have to eat the same leftovers for two weeks. The blender makes righteous smoothies from bananas, peaches, kiwi fruit, spinach, and melon. I use the blender to prepare other meals, too, and I have been very happy with the results.
So, when my local fruit stand had a bumper crop of roma tomatoes, I spent (less than) a whopping five euros and came home with a bag that I could barely carry. These beauties were real tomatoes, not the anemic, pink things that are sold in grocery stores in the US. After making a terrific sauce and some other tomato-infused dishes, I began to wonder if I, too, had what it took to make gazpacho in Spain.
Because I am a super nerd, I started with research. Eventually, I found this perfect non-recipe for making gazpacho, which I modified for my own use. I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen, which is sort of a miracle in itself, and before long, I had a container full of all the ingredients, chopped and flavorful, in the fridge. (A side note here: No cucumbers. Don’t like ’em, never have. Technically, that changes the soup to a salmorejo, because it includes bread, but let’s not get too picky, gentle readers!) I included some mild red peppers that cried out for rescue at the fruit stand, too. I added a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil for the soaking-in-the-fridge step, and I didn’t have to add any water for the mixing process.
The first results? Ummmmm… good thing I didn’t have any friends over. Too much onion, too much garlic. Flavorful, but a bit overwhelming. I have since scaled back on the onion (significantly) and eliminated the garlic (because I like to have friends).
The process of using my blender couldn’t have been simpler! The juice from the tomatoes and other vegetables was enough to make a thick, cold soup that didn’t require too much olive oil, either, and I only added about two tablespoons to the entire batch of soup that lasted for three meals.
After a few intermediate batches, I am now down to using the “smoothie” cups with the blender attachment to make gazpacho. I still let everything soak together in a big bowl in the refrigerator, but I spoon the mix into the smaller cups after a few hours of steeping. The results are nothing short of fantastic. I was so pleased with the flavor, texture, and freshness of the ingredients!