Y’all want to know why I’m a soup addict?
Because soup never lets me down, winter, spring, summer or fall.
Like so many of you in the northern hemisphere, my oven and stove top have been taking a serious break this brutal summer. I’ll use them long enough to cook up some brown rice, risotto, or a quick batch of sweet little scones, but then it’s back to cold fruits and salads. And air conditioning.
Yes, my carbon footprint this summer has been huge. [Sigh]
When the tomatoes ripen in earnest, however, soup hits the menu again, only in the form of gazpacho — chilled and refreshing. No heating, super easy prep. And with avocado thrown in for good measure, it’s like your favorite salsa and guacamole got married in a bowl.
No matter the weather, soup cooperates and comes through with flying colors.
One thing that hasn’t been cooperating, however, is the rain. While I’ve been receiving usable amounts (but not enough to forego the sprinklers), farms on the outlying areas of Cincinnati — the farms that supply our farmers’ markets — haven’t been so fortunate. Some have received little more than a brief shower since the beginning of July and are already considering closing up shop for the year.
Meanwhile, Congress goes off on its cushy 6-week summer break without passing any form of drought aid to farmers and ranchers hit so hard this summer. Nice going, Congress. Way to care for the people you “serve.”
It would be beyond sad to see empty stalls at the markets before Labor Day. Words escape me at the thought of it.
I think I’m going to start washing my car every day and leaving clean, white laundry outside on the clothesline.
Anything to tempt Mother Nature to send rain.
guaczpacho (guacamole gazpacho)
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
1 slice of bread, crusts removed, soaked in water for a few minutes
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 medium avocado, peeled
2 heaping tablespoons red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, thick stems removed
juice and zest from 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Purée all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Taste, and add more salt if necessary.
Optional: for a thinner soup, pour the gazpacho through a coarse sieve, pushing it through the weave with the back of a spoon.
Chill for at least 2 hours. Top with your favorite garnish when serving (I like crunchy croutons or a sprinkling of herbs).