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Greg’s Gazpacho

For 18 people:
12 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, juiced and seeded, chopped
32 oz V8 (approx 1 cup for each cup of tomato juice from the tomatoes)
5 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
5 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
5 red onions, chopped
4 small jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 head of garlic, minced
1.5 cups extra-virgin olive oil
5 limes, juiced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons toasted, ground cumin
6 teaspoons kosher salt
1.5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
(optional: 12 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade)

For 3-4 people
1.5 to 2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, juiced and seeded, chopped
6 to 8 oz V8 (approx 1 cup for each cup of tomato juice from the tomatoes)
1 cup cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped (essentially 1 cuke)
0.5 cup red bell peppers, seeded and chopped (though 1 whole pepper is fine)
0.5 cup red onions, chopped (though 1 whole onion is fine)
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
0.25 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
0.5 teaspoons toasted, ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
0.25 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

A few things:

To start with, process the tomatoes.  Take the green stem off the top, and cut a small (1/2 – 1 inch) cross on the bottom of the tomato.  Throw it into boiling water for 15 seconds (until the skin begins to peel back), then take it out with a spoon and plunge it into cold water for at least a minute.  (You can do this in batches, depending on how much boiling water you have.)  When cool, the skin should rub off with your hands.  Use a knife to remove the stem center and a little bit of the core (the stuff where the stem comes out), and then squeeze the tomato over a mesh strainer on top of a bowl.  (You’re trying to get all of the juice out while catching the seeds and stuff.)  When the tomatoes are all mashed, they’re ready for the next step.  Once you’ve isolated all of the tomato juice (you can kind of rub the seeds over the strainer and that releases more juice into the pot…), double the volume with V8.  This liquid is the base of the soup.

With all of the vegetables (including the “processed” tomatoes), set aside about 1/4 of them and chop them finely.  With the remaining 3/4, cut them up roughly and toss them into a blender or food processor with some of the liquid.  Blend until pretty smooth.  Once you’ve blended all of the rough-cut vegetables, mix in the rest of the ingredients (the other liquid ingredients and the spices) with a whisk or in the food processor.  (A stick blender works really well here, but only if you have one!)  Finally, stir in the finely chopped veggies; these provide a little more interesting texture and a bite here and there with a singular flavor.  If you have time, let the soup sit in a fridge to marry the flavors.  Then, serve and eat with friends!

Posted in: Recipes

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