Sun-Kissed Gazpacho & Summer Fun

Sun Kissed Gazpacho © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-13

Happy End of the Summer Everyone!

Believe it or not summertime is quickly vanishing…  Really, where did the past few months go?

Did everyone get the opportunity to enjoy and relax during the warm season?  “Les grandes vacances” or summer vacations are super sacrilegious for us Frenchies, thus I have been enjoying the long break with my family and had lots of fun playtime with my little ones who never cease to amuse and amaze me with their full tank of energy from morning till dawn!

Once again we did it all from making art projects, biking along our street, taking countless trips to the library for new books to discover, paddling on the lake on a hot summer day, hiking in our lovely woods,

going strawberry/blueberry/peach picking at our local Highland Orchards farm to make our everyday green smoothies and new delicious recipes,

and this amazing Strawberry Peanut Butter Milkshake from our favorite foodblog Green Kitchen Stories,

as well as experimenting with Blueberry Coconut Ice Pops,

enjoying the July 4th fireworks at the park with friends on a warm summer night,

browsing through a few farmers market stands to find seasonal vegetables and juicy fruits to savor to our heart’s content, sipping our newly found Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade (Naturally Sweetened) an adapted version from Gourmande In the Kitchen,

meeting friends for lots of play dates and picnics at the local playgrounds, traveling to Washington DC to visit our dear friends while checking out a few fabulous historic monuments and museums,

Washington DC © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-13

foraging for little wine berries in the backyard to top our morning granola, mixed green salad or Sunday nice-cream sandwich,

camping in the Poconos Mountains with the cousins and friends and sharing funny stories over the bonfire,

spending a relaxing family vacation at the beach in Connecticut where we did nothing but played in the sand, swam and rested,

Westbrook, CT © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-13 Westbrook, CT © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-13

and finally sight-seeing around the big city of New York where both children were super excited to visit for their first time, they sure were smiling from ear to ear while overlooking at the immense city skyline from the Empire State Building or admiring for the beautiful Statue of Liberty with their little eyes filled with sparkles, wonder and joy.  We certainly managed to bottle up all the funtime, laughter and wonderful memories of our long summer break together!!!

New York City Skyline © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-13 Statue of Liberty © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-13

As much as I love traveling, I am happy to say that it is good to be back home sweet home and to get the chance to just hang around without any plans, but to transition into a “slower” pace before school starts again with its brand new routine.

For today’s recipe, since I got my hands on the last big, beautiful, ripe and juicy tomatoes of the season, I really want to share with you one of my favorite easy cold soup, which could be whipped up fast without fuss anytime.  Why “Sun-Kissed Gazpacho?”  Well, as you know the tomatoes have been slowly growing and ripening while being kissed by the sun throughout the warm season and here as the main ingredient in this cold soup the flavor combination with the sweet bell pepper, cucumber, garlic, and so on bursts in your mouth and it just simply tastes like sunshine, “n’est-ce pas?” (isn’t it?)

Sun Kissed Gazpacho

This cold tomato-based vegetable soup, often referred as “liquid salad”, is one of the most refreshing of all summer soups. This is my “simple” and rather “quick” recipe made in a blender, which keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.  Create your own favorite version soon to enjoy and share!

Ingredients:

6 super ripe medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 large English cucumber or 1 seedless cucumber, 
washed, halved, and cut into chunks
1 red (orange or yellow) bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 to 2 medium Jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced 
(use more or keep the seeds if you like it spicy, I do!)
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 shallots (or 1/2 small red onion), quartered (optional)
1 cup water (or fresh tomato juice)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
Extra cucumber and red or yellow bell pepper, diced
Avocado diced & fresh cilantro (oregano) leaves, garnish

Directions:

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, Jalapeno pepper, cilantro, garlic, shallots if using, water, oil, lemon juice and salt. then process until blended but not smooth. I like it a little chunky myself. You might have to half the recipe and blend it twice depending on your blender capacity.  Readjust seasoning to your liking.
Pour into a large bowl, add the extra chopped cucumber and red bell pepper. Add salt and taste to adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate thoroughly before serving, at least 4 hours to overnight.
Serve gazpacho into bowls, and sprinkle with more diced cucumber, red bell pepper, or avocado if using and cilantro or your herb of choice. 
The gazpacho can be refrigerated overnight and kept chill for up to 3 days.
Serves 4 to 6. 
 
Notes:
I like to use heirlooms tomatoes for this recipe when they are in season, but any ripe tomatoes will work fine.
You could substitute the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, though I prefer the freshness of the lemon juice here.
Of course, the color of the soup will vary depending on your finds “du jour.”  Play around with the ingredients and remember to taste as you go along to adjust it to your liking and let me know how it turns out. 

Savor the last days of summer to the fullest everyone!  While I am looking forward to settling back into our daily routine with school, homework, kids sport and activities and of course my cooking classes, a part of me is not ready to let it go yet, are you?

Have a fantastic Labor Day celebration!

 

🙂  Ketmala

PS:  Stay tuned for upcoming new cooking schedule, more to share soon.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS AND CONTENTS © KETMALA’S KITCHEN 2012-16. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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