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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Soup

As a rule, I don't make soup until the first frost of the year. It gives me something to look forward to in the cooler months. I have my fall/winter recipes and my spring/summer recipes. I don't think I've ever made hot soups in the summer. Cold soup I will eat. I've made avocado soup, cold potato soup (Vichyssoise), cucumber/yogart soup (based on Tzatziki sauce) and my favorite Gazpacho soup. The original recipe was from a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I took her basic ingredients and changed the amounts of my favorite ingredient, and lessened the amounts of my least favorite ingredients. I use the smallest onions I can find as I'm not wild about raw onions (...and in the summer, they have to be sweet Vidalia onions grown in south Georgia). She uses more garlic than I prefer, so I changed that amount too. I added more herbs because I grown them on my patio and use them whenever I think they will enhance a dish. I also added olives. I can eat olives by the bowlful, so I may as well add them to this wonderful soup.


8 pickling cucumbers,, halved and seeded
3 bell peppers: cored, seeded and chopped (I use one of each: green, red, and yellows)
8 plum tomatoes
2 small Vidalia onions (I'm not much on raw onion, so I use the small one and mince it)
4 garlic cloves, minced
46 ounces tomato juice (6 cups)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil (I used extra virgin olive oil from Kalamata, Greece....I'm Greek, What can I say? :D
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
6 springs of lemon thyme: I grow it on my patio, so I use it in a lot of things
10 or so fresh basil leaves: I grow this too.. so use it often
Italian parsley (1/2 cup chopped): Yet another herb I grow!
lemon juice to taste (I squeeze the lemon on individual servings as I like the citrus taste)
For Garnishing the soup:
black, green, and Kalamata olives 1/2 cup
lemon slices
3 or 4 chopped green onions

Roughly chop each type of vegetable. Put each type vegetable separately in food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Don't process too much or you will have puree. After each vegetable is processed, or chopped by hand, combine in large bowl. Add garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and herbs if desired. Mix well and chill. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

This is a nice refreshing soup. I served with crusty Italian bread slices. Since making it for the first time, I have decided that I like the bits of vegetables more chunky than the result in the food processor.

Italian bread slices

Slices of hearty Italian bread (Get the very hearty loaf, not the prewrapped soft Italian bread), drizzled with olive oil, topped with grated lemon zest, shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, minced dill, and ground pepper. Toast until golden.

Especially nice for hot days in the U.S. with temps over 90 F.


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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar