The Party’s in the Kitchen: Beat the Heat
Oh, the heat is on in So. Cal. We have been in the triple digits with heat advisories for many communities. It a dry heat, many say. Not as oppressive as other parts of the country. That is, until the humidity finds its way into our air. This is when we Californians start to melt.
Our house is cooled by an evaporative cooler aka swamp cooler. When the humidity rises, cooling does not happen. Without any other form of climate control, it gets a little swampy in our abode.
This past week, we had our usual monthly gathering of friends to hear about what is happening in different ministries based around the world. Since the speakers who were joining us drew a larger than normal crowd and the cooler not cooling, we were forced outside to the patio. I was worried because the heat had soared to the 100+ range that day and some clouds hovered in the sky bringing humid air with them. But by start time, it began to moderate, making the evening a perfect time of fellowship.
I like a quiet evening with family or friends over, great food and great discussion and a lot of laughter. That’s really what I think fills my tank.
So what do you serve when the temperature rises and the customary food served at an event called SOUPer Friday is soup? Well, Gazpacho of course! I was always afraid to try this cold soup until just recently but when I did I really liked it. This time I created it from a mash up of two recipes I found on the Food Network, one from Alton Brown and the other from Ina Garten. With a few of their ideas and a twist of my own, and I created something pretty delicious for my guests. I hope you will enjoy it, too.
- 1 hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded but not peeled
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
- 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 23 ounces tomato juice
- 13.75 ounces corn and chili tomato-less salsa (I used Trader Joe’s)
- ¼ cup good olive oil
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process!
- After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, corn salsa, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving.
- Yields 4-6 servings. I quadrupled the recipe and fed 25 people with enough left over for four lunches.
- The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop. I had it the next day and it was much more mingled and delicious. Yum.