California Summer Gazpacho

Summer... so many things come to different minds when it comes to the hot season... Some of us think of the beach, a cold ice-cream, or vacation time from school and work. But for all of us food lovers, and in particular those who think of themselves as "locavores" (by definition, those who subscribe to the "local food movement")  summer is a time to head over to the farmers market and immerse ourselves in the bounty of fruits and vegetables.

At the market, a variety of colors, shades, sizes and flavors, create a beautiful rainbow of nutrients and possibilities, that can inspire even those who shy away from cooking, to experiment in the kitchen. In particular here in CA, land of all cherished heirloom varieties, summer is a celebration to the senses, we enjoy beautiful creations of nature, filling the stands with their aroma and us cooks with delight. They all taste and smell different, and so can produce different results.

One of summer's best parts and promises, are the tomatoes. These days, we live in a world where one can get tomatoes year long. But once you've tasted a real tomato, it's hard to go back... .

And what's a better way to get the full experience of a tomato, than with this classic Mediterranean refreshing cold soup, the Gazpacho. For this recipe, I've added some of my favorite heirloom variety of cucumbers and peppers, to accentuate the sweet flavor of the tomatoes, along side a little celery, parsley, onion and garlic for added savory twist.

The result is a super easy, quick and delicious dish, which could be served as an appetizer, or take over your lunch all together! A great solution for those of you who work away from home... Just blend, pour into a jar, and take it with you to work or on-the-go...

So without further due...

         California Summer Gazpacho (serves 2)

6 small "early girl" tomatoes or 3 medium heirloom tomatoes

1 Persian cucumber, or half of a medium Armenian cucumber

1 small Gypsy pepper, red, orange or yellow

2 tbsp roughly chopped onion, red for a mild flavor, or yellow for stronger flavor

1 clove garlic 

1 stalk celery 

1/2 cup Parsley leaves 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

Optional: 1 tbsp nutritional yeast 

Begin by roughly cutting the tomatoes, and place them in your blender. If you've got a high power blender, you can place all the ingredients together, as long as the tomatoes are in the bottom.. Otherwise, blend the tomatoes first to create the base, with which the rest of the ingredients will be blended with. 

Cut the celery, peppers and cucs into rough pieces, add to the blender, with the rest of the ingredients, and blend well. Taste for salt. The real flavor of tomatoes tends to "come out" when adding salt, so experiment with adding a tiny bit more and see how it feels.

Pour into serving dishes, or a jar to go. You can also have some now, and save the rest in the fridge for later. The onion and garlic will help the soup preserve for a few days. You can garnish with a celery stalk or parsley leaf for added color and flavor...

So there you have it...  

Yet another easy, healthy, raw recipe for you to enjoy... And be nourished :)