I'm in full deluge mode: hip-waders, mask, snorkel, forklift. The garden is in its final run. Things are ripening at a frightening rate. I can actually hear the deck groaning under the weight of all the vegetables.
This time of year is a reminder that no good deed goes unpunished. I have so many bits of self-produced produce I'm running out of places to store it. I don't "do" canning. Canning is just putting off the inevitable. If I'm not going to eat the stuff now, I'm certainly not going to eat it in February. No, there will be no exploding jars in the Crabby household. We grow now, we eat now.
This time of year that leads me down a path perilously close to vegetarianism. I'm constantly on the look out for recipes that consume huge amounts of vegetables. The family is getting sick of fresh pasta sauce and after 8 loaves, no one in their right minds wants to look at another zucchini bread.
The one consolation is that I know that it's not too long before the oven's going to be cranking out all sorts of roast beasties. So fatten up my ovine, bovine, porcine and avian friends, Crabby's going carnivorous very, very soon. But not today.
Today's recipe is Gazpacho. Gazpacho is one of those recipes that seems to have a million variations. I interpret that to mean, no matter what you do, you can't screw up. I prefer a smoother texture, so I run most of the tomatoes through a food mill but I leave the other vegetables bite size. It's a nice combination of textures and it plows through a heck of a lot of produce, so please enjoy...
adapted and adjusted by Crabby from a number of different recipes
Necessary Equipment: A Food Mill
3 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 cups tomato juice
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and minced
1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped to small dice
1/2 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped to small dice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Optional Garnish/Serving Ingredients
5 large basil leaves in chiffonade
Ripe Avocado slices
Choose 1 pound of the largest tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water boils, immerse the 1 pound of tomatoes and return to a boil. As soon as the skin on the tomatoes splits, remove them from the water and allow to cool on a small plate. Optionally, if you don't own a food mill, you can prep all the tomatoes this way, though it is much more time consuming and messy.
After they have cooled for five minutes and working over a large bowl, carefully pick up the tomatoes and remove the skins by hand. Transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and roughly chop the flesh, removing any seeds.
Transfer the chopped tomatoes and any collected juices to the large glass bowl.
Quarter the remaining tomatoes. Working in batches over the glass bowl, pass the quartered tomatoes through a food mill, capturing the meat and juices. Discard the residual skins and seeds caught by the food mill.
After processing the tomatoes add the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate the soup and allow it to sit for at least 2 hours. The flavors will mesh over time. Adjust seasoning just prior to serving.
How about that! Now I'm not going to lie; I have a hand crank food mill and this soup can be a messy workout, but the results are worth it.
Alright crablings, I'm outta here. Until next time, remember you can do it, you can cook.