It’s that time of year when the Farmer’s Markets are overflowing with everything under the sun. Most of the time we go just for something to do, interesting farmers to talk to, bustling shoppers with their cool shopping baskets and agendas… and buy whatever strikes our fancy and looks good, no really shopping list, here. We’ll figure out what is for dinner when we get home!
I so wish these markets were available everywhere we went, year round. Here, in Northern Michigan, with our choice of markets. I *think* Monday is the only day when there is not one within 20 miles. Most are in under 10 minutes. When *they* say this is God’s country, *they* got it right. They are so very right.
It wasn’t voted The Most Beautiful Place in the America, for nothing. We are ripe with sunshine and bountiful harvests, now. With views and crisp clean air all the time. It’s overwhelming, to say the least.
Each year, I have a better understanding what living the Locavore lifestyle, really means. You gorge yourself on whatever is local and plentiful that week and next week, it’s on to something else. It’s very affordable eating at it’s best. It’s what our bodies need and crave. It’s local and full of our local sunshine. It’s what *I* need.
So this week, I tried my hand at Gazpacho.
You know there is no *real* recipe for Gazpacho and more than 1000 recipes all at the same time, right? Weird. I know….
Everybody does it their own way based on available ingredients and their own tastes.
All I know is that it is a cold, tomato based, Spanish heritage, yummy for my tummy, soup that I adore. One that I can eat twice, in any one day, without issue.
Year after year, I am blown away by how colorful, and pretty, truly fresh veggies really are.
I used a variety of heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, because that’s what is available, to me, now. A cucumber, a celery stalk, some chopped sweet onion, and just a piece of a sweet red pepper. Not a huge fan of green bell peppers, so I don’t use them. Chef’s choice.
In the meantime, freeze your margarita glasses.
And be ready for a heavenly taste of icy cold sunshine.
Here we go. This is how I do it.
2 1/2# tomatoes, peeled if possible, cut up
1 c peeled cubed cucumber, 1/4″ dice
1 c cubed zucchini, 1/4″ dice, I didn’t have one today, work with what you have…
1/2 c cubed sweet onion, 1/4″ dice
1 celery stalk, small dice
1/4 red bell pepper, 1/4″ dice
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced small
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 TBS fresh parsley or cilantro, minced
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
heavy-handed dashes of Tabasco, maybe 10 shakes
a sprinkling of salt
a grinding of black pepper
grilled bread slices, directions below
grilled shrimp, directions below
To a food processor or blender add half of the tomatoes, the cukes, zukes, onions, celery, red bell pepper and jalapeño along with a cup or two of tomato (hopefully you canned more than I did last year) or V-8 juice, all the garlic, parsley (cilantro), vinegar, olive oil, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Did I miss anything???
Whirl it up until smooth, but still has speckles of color left. Add more juice to get to the consistency *you* envision. Pour into a bowl or pitcher and stir in the rest of the veggies. Taste for salt, pepper and zippiness. Adjust seasoning and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably longer. Taste again, after chilled, and adjust seasoning, again, if needed.
Scoop up all that colorful goodness into your glasses.
Top with your cubed avocado, a squeeze of lime and your basil chiffonade.
Sit back and slowly enjoy all the wonderful flavors of summer, while imprinting, on your brain, just what sunshine tastes like.
In 6 months, you may need to recall it.
Let’s hope not…. but just in case…
Serve yourself up another cold one.
Grilled bread slices
Brush bread slices with olive oil, grill on a grill pan, a gas grill or over an open flame (broiling works, too) until toasted, rub with a garlic clove.
Skewer shrimp, brush with olive oil, season with salt, pepper or your favorite seasonings. Grill as with the bread, but just until pink. The bread won’t turn pink but the shrimp will. Alternatively, you can pan sauté them until pink. No need to rub them with garlic. Too messy….