— This column is syndicated across the country, so I have no idea what the weather has been like in your neck of the woods. But, speaking for southern Indiana, it has been hotter than hades of late, with many all-time heat records being shattered. We actually hit 107 one day.
Today's column will provide you with a great recipe that remains true to outdoor cooking. But, there is no meat, and the end product will literally cool you off and refresh you. Did I say there is no meat?
Yep, but please bare with me.
“Chilled soup” is an oxymoron in my opinion. When you think of soup, you visualize a bowl full of steaming goodness, perfect for a wintery day.
Gazpacho is what we are preparing. It is Spanish in its
origins, and means “cold vegetable soup.” Obviously you don't want to serve this in the winter, but in the dog-days of summer, gazpacho is delicious and refreshing. Plus, it makes you look really sophisticated.
Just say the word out loud. “Gazpacho.” Say it again. Good work.
Your coolness factor just spiked exponentially.
The foundations of this recipe come from Ina Garten, a Food Network personality. We added a couple
additional ingredients and tweaked it a bit to enhance and deepen the flavors. I think you'll like it.
• 1 cucumber
• 1 red bell pepper
• 1 yellow red pepper
• 3 tomatoes
• 2 Tbs chopped garlic (more if you love garlic)
• 3 ½ cups tomato juice
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tsp hot sauce (more if you like it spicier)
• 1 ½ tsp salt
• I tsp black pepper
First, we need to infuse the peppers and tomatoes with a subtle smokiness. Set up the grill with indirect heat, meaning the hot coals are stacked to one side, or one of your burners on your gas grill is turned off.
Sprinkle the hot coals with hickory chips, or place the smoke box filled with hickory chips in your gas grill. If you don't have a smoke box, create one with aluminum foil. Google it if you need instructions.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds, leaving as much flesh as possible. Cut the red and yellow peppers in half and get rid of the seeds. Slice the tomatoes into quarters. Place the peppers and tomatoes on the cool side of the grill. Cover with the lid, and let smoke for 20 to 30
minutes. Take off of grill and allow to cool.
Cut all vegetables into small chunks. Place each vegetable individually into a food processor and puree', but don't go overboard. As each vegetable is pureed, pour it into a large bowl.
Once all pureed vegetables are in the bowl, add the finely chopped garlic, tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Cover and let chill for a couple of hours.
The longer, the better. A tablespoon of Greek yogurt per serving is a nice and creamy addition.
Serve with a crusty bread and a nice Pilsner beer or a crisp Pinot Grigio.
Be a vegetarian for a day. It won't kill ya!