Friday, January 23, 2009

Summer in January! Recipe: Gazpacho

Yes, "Summer in January" was the theme for the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers gathering on Saturday. We all looked in our freezer and pantry shelves to find summer foods we had preserved in some way by canning, freezing, pickling, or drying. There is nothing like great food and great conversation with old and new friends to chase away thoughts of Michigan's snow and freezing temperature outside.

I brought Gazpacho using our home-canned tomatoes rather than fresh ones, which is a great recipe for winter, rather than the tasteless fresh ones typically available in January. I also used our frozen roasted sweet red peppers, our fresh herbs growing in my sunny south window, and our own elephant garlic cloves harvested last summer. I did purchase the onion (ours are long gone), a fresh cucumber, yellow pepper, orange pepper, and jalapeno pepper.

Gazpacho Ingredients:
• 2 quarts of canned tomatoes
• 1 cup water
• 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (do not omit - this is needed for both flavor and to maximize the absorption of all the fat-soluble cancer fighting phytochemicals in the tomatoes and other ingredients)
• 1 large cucumber (remove most of the waxed peel, remove the seeds, and dice into small pieces) - about 2 cups
• 1 yellow sweet pepper - remove seeds, then cut into small dice
• 1 orange sweet pepper - remove seeds, then cut into small dice
• 1 roasted red sweet pepper - cut into small dice
• 4-6 garlic cloves - cut into very small dice
• 1 jalapeno pepper - remove seeds, then cut into very small dice
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• Salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of the pepper mill)
• unflavored yogurt
• fresh herbs of choice, chopped small (I used a mix of chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram)

Gazpacho Method:
• Blend first quart of tomatoes quite well, so that seeds and tomatoes are pureed
• Blend second quart only slightly so that the tomatoes are still a bit chunky
• Transfer both quarts of blended tomatoes to a large soup pot or serving bowl and add all remaining ingredients except herbs and yogurt.
• Season with salt and pepper.
• Cool several hours, however if possible make the day before to allow flavors to blend.
• Serve with a dollap of yogurt and a sprinkle of herbs.

Here are some of the other foods brought followed by some photos (sorry I missed getting a picture of everything!):
Deviled Eggs
Baguette slices with cream cheese and artichoke hearts
Blackberry Pudding
Plum gelato with homemade mini-cones
Beet caviar and Pea Guacamole
Biscotti (tiny crisp and scrumptious - just right!)

Ahhhhhh, "Summer in January" is a celebration I have not done before. I loved both the reflection on last summer and the excitement about the growing season and harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables to come!! I hope our Michigan Lady Food Bloggers has this gathering every January as I love looking forward to happy events.

Check out the blogs written by the growing number of Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. Each one is different, and each one is fascinating reading. They are listed on the left side of my blog, complete with links to each one. I'll bet that no matter where you live, if you look around, you'll find a similar group of interesting people in your own neck of the woods (city, state, country) who love to eat and cook great-tasting food made with ingredients from local farmers and/or local companies. In fact, I encourage you to start your own blog about whatever you wish to write about! Even my husband is now starting a blog of the recipes that he enjoys cooking. Check it out at NoTime4BlandFood!

Let me know if you find a blog you really like in your location or if you start one yourself!

Enjoy and savor good food and good health!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Ed Bruske said...

Oh, that quart of tomatoes looks very familiar, Diana. I just gave one away--along with a bunch of other pickled goods--to a neighbor in exchange for some venison.

Jen said...

Thanks for the recipe, Diana. Your gazpacho was sooooooo good!

Rumela said...

Thanks for the gazpacho recipe. Last summer I ate them at a party and has been looking for an authentic recipe ever since. Now I will be able to make them myself. Thanks again.