“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tomato Season

This is the best time of the year for local produce in my area and I take full advantage of it. Berries that were picked hours ago burst with flavor, freshness and greater nutritional value than those that have been traveling for a week. The same with tomatoes. Nothing tastes like a vine-ripened garden tomato, in season, and I use them as much as I can while they’re around. One of my favorite dishes during this often hot and humid time of year is gazpacho. Although traditionally a tomato-based, cold soup, I’ve come across many variations that center around other fruits and even avocados. And since I’m a huge fan of tomatoes and avocados, the other day, I decided to create a gazpacho that kept its roots in tradition, but then took on the characteristics of a guacamole; inspired by recipes in Vegetarian Times Magazine. Here’s the soup below and a video if you’d like to see what it looks like:

Tomato-Avocado Gazpacho

The following will make ~2 batches in a blender:

5-6 roma tomatoes or enough of another variety to equal ~3 cups, chopped

2 peeled and seeded cucumbers

1 large bell pepper, preferably red, yellow, or orange

1 large red onion

3-4 cloves garlic

4T chopped cilantro leaves

4T fresh lime juice

1 cup tomato juice

2t cumin or to taste

2t sea salt

2-4 ripe avocados

Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers and bell pepper and one or two avocados into uniform sized pieces, ~one half to three quarter inch. Slice and chop red onion and coarsely chop garlic. Place half of everything above except the avocado into a blender and blend briefly, stopping and stirring with a spoon if necessary to allow the mixture to fully blend. The consistency of the soup should be a thick and the vegetables should be visibly minced. Add one half or one of the chopped avocados to the blender and blend for a couple of seconds only. Transfer the soup to a glass or ceramic container and refrigerate at least two hours. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped avocado, cilantro and plain yogurt. Drizzle with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil if desired.

This is quick, refreshing, tasty and brimming with fiber and nutrients, including heart healthy omega-3 from the avocado. Hope you enjoy!!

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