Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Karma of Gazpacho

Though I can’t remember the first time I tasted cold gazpacho soup, I know for certain it was the single recipe that I took to college. Now, 25 years later, it is one of the only recipes that I pull from my box. The card wears the signs of its long journey: bent ears, small red splatters, and smeared writing from sitting to close to the cutting board. Gazpacho is clearly my favorite summertime treat.
This past Saturday morning, the women’s final at Wimbledon altered my plans. I always start at the Farmer’s market, hoping to get certain items before they sellout. Thanks to the tennis, I hit the market during the last hour. As expected the fresh trout and greens were gone, two favorites and the remaining stands looked sparse. I was on a hunt for cheap tomatoes, ones that might not be perfect but sell for $2 a pound rather than $3, with no luck. Just as I gave up hope, I turned to hear a bright “good morning” from an Amish man who had the familiar Bible verse (Psalms 118:24) on the sign to his stand: “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” We exchanged a bright smile and a few kind words. I looked down and his wife sat in the backend of their truck separating out tomatoes. A pile had accumulated of the less than perfect tomatoes.
“How much for those tomatoes,” I said, pointing to the pile. “They are not for sale,” he replied gently. I nodded. He then said, “But I would love to give them to you if you want them.” My eyes widened and I assured him I was looking for tomatoes that I could afford in quantity to make gazpacho. The bearded man in his top hat filled several bags with over 20 homegrown tomatoes that bore a slit or a bruise and handed them to me without a word. Stunned, I promised him that I would pay it forward and make gazpacho with his tomatoes and share it with fellow lovers of the cold soup. He smiled, tipped his hat, and said “have a wonderful day young lady.”

Aunt Mary’s Gazpacho Soup
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber
1/4 cup green pepper
1/4 white onion
1 cup V-8 juice
2 cloves of garlic
1 celery stalk
2 tbs fresh parsley
fresh lemon juice
garlic salt, pepper to taste
Blend ingredients and then add 2 tbs of olive oil and a dash or two of white wine if available. Blend again and chill.

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