Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Signs of Summer: Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Seasoned Cucumbers

I know it may be hard to believe, but I don't _just_ make desserts. I do make plenty of other food, too! Dessert just happens to be more photogenic and easy to distribute among your friends. I am making plenty of dishes today for a girly dinner party I am organizing, but sadly my camera's battery is dead and I can't seem to find the charger...

So, I dropped by Red Fire Farm, who do my CSA, to take advantage of their pick their own options for CSA subscribers. I was absolutely crushed to find out that I got there too late, and they had ploughed over the strawberry bushes for the season. However I did come back with loads of green beans, fresh herbs, and some Iron Bound Island seaweed. Still, the strawberries were a tragedy... I picked them last year, in early July... They were so ripe that I had to use them in less than 24 hours, but the taste was unbelievable... The crown of the crop was a red wine strawberry sorbet, rhubarb had passed season so no pies.

So... Here is a moment to remember the strawberries that I will not have this season...


And a brilliant red recipe to celebrate the bounty the farm offered, and remember what has passed, and will come again. The tomatoes were hothouse, sadly.. But that just means this recipe is going to be even better in August.

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Seasoned Cucumbers
Serves 6
  • 3 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut up into large chunks*
  • 2 t sea salt**
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • A few twists of black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 quarter of a red beet (optional, gives a lovely depth of color)
Seasoned Cucumbers
  • 1 large cucumber, diced***
  • 1/2 c diced sweet onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 T fresh minced basil or basil flowers
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • a couple of grinds of pepper
Step 1: Soup - Toss the tomatoes with the ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2: Cucumbers - Meanwhile, assemble all of the ingredients for the cucumbers and toss together.
Step 3: Soup - Blend until creamy and smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth into your serving bowls, garnish with the seasoned cucumbers.
Step 4: Serve. I like to drizzle the bowls with a little extra-virgin olive oil, a pinch of coarse sea salt, and a twist of fresh black pepper.

*Single variety is good, the sweet Brandywine works well, as does the smoky Cherokee Purple.
** I used a smoked salt
*** Depending on the cucumber, you can leave it with its skin and seeds. Thicker, older ones can have rough skin that is tough to chew, and large seeds. Some smaller, young cucumbers have a tender skin and small seeds.

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