Fresh Herbs

A fresh and fun recipe catalog by a girl who likes to play in the kitchen the "from scratch" way.

|C’MON IRENE!| 08/27/2011

Filed under: CILANTRO,PARSLEY,Picnic,ROSEMARY,SAGE,Savory,Soups,THYME — |FreshHerbs| @ 3:26 pm

Well, so far it’s a beautiful sunny day here…hard to believe that we’ve spent the majority of the afternoon preparing for Hurricane Irene. Hubs has pulled all of our deck furniture into the basement where we’ve piled it high with the things that we don’t want to get wet should the sump pump fail. {banish the thought} While he was busy preparing outside, I felt the need to contribute to the prep in the kitchen…

Just because you may not be able to use the oven (micro, toaster, or otherwise) doesn’t mean that the impending possibility of lost power means that you have to eat PB&J (though I’m not knocking a good PB&J). The trick is to make use of the power while you do have it! So while the chicken breasts were baking and the french baguette dough was in the bread machine, I tackled the mound of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers (thanks Lisa & Ken!) and other assorted vege and turned it into the perfect storm food- gazpacho! Think about it. You eat it cold, or even room temp, so if the power goes out there’s nothing to heat up. Serve it with some bread or crackers and you have the most delicious, and nutritious, easy meal. So here’s my version of a great summertime dish…

garden fresh tomatoes

Fresh from the garden tomatoes!

Hurricane Gazpacho

3 large fresh tomatoes, rough dice
1 roasted red pepper (I used jarred.)
1/2 large red onion, rough dice
1.5 Tb herbed vinegar (see below)
1 Tb evoo
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 small jalepeno
1 large garden cucumber
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried cilantro (all I had!)
4 turns of my pepper mill

I put all of this together in one batch in my blender and found that blending it in stages helped me to fit it all in so the recipe is broken into parts. It honestly doesn’t matter which sections you blend together, as long as you start with the tomato base. I started with the tomatoes through the evoo and blended. Then I added the garlic, lime, jalepeno and cuke. Last I just stirred in the seasoning and put it in my fridge to chill for at least one hour (though my plan is to have it when the storm rolls in tomorrow so I’m not going to dig in for at least 24 hours).

Now for some notes…I used dried cilantro instead of fresh because I’ve used up all of my fresh. While I love the bright flavor of |fresh herbs| I always have a pantry stocked with a ready supply of dried herbs. For a soup like this, I’d probably opt for fresh if I had it, but dried always works in a pinch.

Mom's herbed vinegar with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!

As for the vinegar I used, as I’ve posted before my mother is an herb enthusiast and she gave me this beautiful bottle of “Simon and Garfunkle” vinegar with |fresh herbs| floating in it…yup, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. I’ve honestly been at a loss for how to use it (other than salad dressing of course) so added it to this recipe as I was creating it and it really does add some flavor. If you didn’t have an herbed vinegar on hand I’d opt for red wine vinegar.

The end result, dear readers, is a super easy, super nutritious, and super delicious summer recipe that works for storms, picnics, lunch at your desk, or a day at the beach. Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish dish which typically includes raw vegetables and bread. As you can see, I’ve omitted the bread in the recipe in favor of serving the soup with bread. It’s packed with vitamins and has an acidic bite that’s very refreshing in the summer. It’s also a great way to use up the pile of cukes and toms that your garden is spewing forth right about now. So while you still have electricity, plug in that blender! Cook often and eat well!

Hurricane Gazpacho!