I can’t tell you how badly I want to be writing about a chill in the air, cooking with pumpkin, drinking hot chocolate … but, no, it’s still in the mid to upper 90s every day. As a lifelong Texan, I realize that now is the time of year that I have to dig deep and reach a new place of surrender and acceptance with summer weather. I’m going to take my child swimming for the 400th time this year, apply sunscreen instead of denying its need, pack my water bottle wherever I go, and basically suck it up rather than pay heed to the way my heart swells when I see those Yahoo! ads for “where to find the best fall color.”
I also will stop buying sweet potatoes and butternut squash in the hope that a cold snap is “just around the corner!” I should know better. I should be wringing the life out of summer, knowing that soon enough, my toes won’t ever feel warm enough in bed unless my dog is on them, that I’ll miss fresh blueberries and peaches like crazy by next April, that my child will mourn the loss of swimming like it was a family pet …
So here is my End of Summer Gazpacho. All the good things about summer blended into a bowl of cool deliciousness. Enjoy it with a cold beer or chilled glass of white wine and join me in trying to stop wishing summer away.
End of Summer Gazpacho
3 large tomatoes (good ones!)
1 large seedless (English) cucumber, peeled
1 medium clove garlic, mashed into a pulp
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 large avocado
2-4 limes, juiced, depending on juiciness (need about 6 Tablespoons)
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
1-3 cups cold water
Sour cream, an extra avocado and/or hot sauce for garnish
Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into small chunks. Mince the scallions (whites and 2 inches of greens). Combine these in a large bowl with garlic and parsley.
In a smaller bowl, mash the avocado and mix in lime juice. Add this plus salt, pepper, basil, olive oil and honey to the first bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of cold water, mix well, and taste for seasoning. If you like this consistency, stop here. If you want it soupier, scoop half the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until minced but not totally smooth. Add back to mixture and stir, adding more water as needed. The gazpacho should chill, covered, in the fridge to combine flavors for at least 1 hour.
Serve with sour cream, cubed avocado and/or hot sauce to spice it up. Serves 4-6. (Adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forestby Mollie Katzen.)
Note: You can add diced bell pepper if you like it, or finely chopped jalapeño if you want heat.
Written by: Shannon Oelrich