Home Grown Gazpacho

or my garden in a bowl

I love my garden, I love my garden, I love my garden.... With that being said, I was completely taken aback by the sheer amount of produce that I have been able to harvest from my little 4 ft x 4 ft garden bed already this year.  Every week I have had at least 3-4 banana peppers, an occasional mini chocolate bell pepper, 1-2 regular sized bell peppers, 2-3 cucumbers, a couple handfuls of bush beans, and a relatively plentiful supply of tomatoes thanks to my upside down tomato planter (the jury is still out on how I feel about this particular garden invention).  Add to that the endless supply of oregano, chives, basil, rosemary, and renegade flat leaf parsley and I scarcely know what to do with it all!  It doesn't help that I can't resist supplementing it each weekend at the local Farmers' Market, but that's another issue all in itself.  

So when my garden started mocking me every day last week when I returned from work and taunted me in the mornings with the vegetables I hesitated to harvest and add to my growing stockpile in the house, I knew it was time to take action.  So what did I do?  I pureed those suckers, that'll teach them!  Well I pureed some of them, just as an example to the others, maybe they'll grow a little slower this week... Now that is a tension reducer!  But anyway, as a result I enjoyed several days worth of a light and delicious chilled soup that I liken to gazpacho.  I do not include dried bread, though I know it is traditional, because I like how fresh the flavors taste on their own and I find the layered garden flavors with a dollop of light sour cream is really just delightful for a light lunch.  Here's what i did, check it out:

Not the prettiest picture, but you get the idea....

4 large tomatoes or 8+ roma
1 each small green, yellow, and orange bell peppers
3 sweet banana peppers
2 medium sized cucumbers, or 4 pickling cucumbers
3 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh parsely, chopped
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp paprika
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup water, more if desired for thinner soup
¼ cup white wine vinegar

Hardware: food processor or blender

1. Dice up the tomatoes and add to the bowl of the food processor. Remove the seeds from the peppers and peel the cucumbers then dice have of them roughly and add to the food processor, then the other half more finely and set aside.

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the reserved vegetables, to the food processor. Pulse or run on low until smooth. If you prefer a thinner base feel free to add water during this step. Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as desired, I like to add some cilantro but my husband is not a fan so adjustments with that you will have to decide for yourself.

3. Pour out the liquid into a large bowl and add the remaining vegetables. Stir well to combine, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir again before serving.

So easy, no heating, and you won't believe the flavors you get from such simple basic. I suggest serving with crostini and, as I mentioned above, a dollop of sour cream. But, you may find a combination that suits your tastes a bit better. As always - give it a chance, let it into your home, change as you like, and make it your own. Enjoy!

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