Macho Gazpacho

Macho Gazpacho is chunky, spicy and full of flavor.  Of course you can water it down with tomato juice, but at foodie with a life, I keep it super cool and mucho macho.
What is Gazpacho?  Chilled vegetable soup.  It’s a little off the beaten path for many Americans, but with a base of ripe summer tomatoes and cucumbers, it’s the ultimate menu cooler.  Bonus: it’s minimal cooking time so you can be daytime poolside and nighttime fireside without breaking a culinary sweat.  
*Foodie advice:  Use gloves when handling and cutting the jalapeño.   The oils are quite potent and almost invisible as I discovered when taking out my contacts, even after thorough hand washing.  Using the jalepano seeds will make the soup spicier.  Adjust to your heat preference.

To get the basic gazpacho idea and base, I thumbed through a great cookbook, Pike Place Market Recipes by Jess Thomson.  Want to recipe for Salade Verte from Le Pichet?  It’s in there…
Serves 6:
1 large English cucumber, peeled
3 cups tomatoes (= about 3 large tomatoes), seeded and chopped
1/2 fresh jalapeño, diced
1-cup low-sodium tomato juice
1 bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 ears corn, cut off the cob
1/2-cup onion, diced
1-tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1-teaspoon honey
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon pepper
1 avocado

Prep the ingredients:  You’re going to make a soup base and then have lots of chunky vegetables.  That in mind, you’ll need a large bowl and a blender or food processor.
In a skillet, warm olive oil over medium high heat, cook onion and corn kernels for 3-4 minutes, season with 1/4-teaspoon salt/pepper, cooking until they begin to brown.  Put into soup bowl. 
Cut cucumber in half.  One half is for the soup base (cut into large chunks and add to blender) and dice the other half, add to soup bowl.  Do the same with bell pepper.  Add jalepano, tomato juice, tomatoes, garlic, honey, salt and pepper to blender.  Puree.  
Pour mixture into soup bowl; add cilantro and 20 drops of Tabasco.  Taste and add more if desired.  You can also add thin slices of jalapeño for extra kick.  Chill and serve cold with diced avocado on top.

Make it a meal:  Add chunks of cooked chicken.  Toast baguette slices and serve with extra-virgin olive oil for dipping.

Keywords:  Vegan soup, vegetarian, gazpacho, ripe tomato, cool supper appetizers, Pike Place Market Recipes, Jess Thompson 


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