Folks, we’re in July. Which means we’re heading into the thick of hot and humid weather – even in northern Vermont.
But honestly, I thought we might have been in the worst of it a couple of weeks ago. Just sitting still within 3 feet of Jedd or Little Black Kitten brought my body temperature up to the point where my eyelids were sweating.
Yes, that’s a thing. And I’m not proud of it. Who wants to brag about sweaty eyelids?
But that’s when I came up with immediate gratification gazpacho. So, it’s a mixed bag of memories.
Too hot = not a good memory.
Refreshing, completely chilled, full-bodied gazpacho in less than 30 minutes = pure perfection.
Impossible, you say? Oh, contraire! There is a way.
And I owe it all to my grandmother.
A few years ago, we were swimming in fresh tomatoes. No joke, I’d over-bought at the farmers market and then Jedd’s dad went on an impromptu vacation.
And Jedd’s dad has a green thumb.
So, when he hit the road, he told Jedd to pick all the cherry tomatoes and bring them home. Jedd called me and said he was bringing home a “box of tomatoes.”
He walked through the door and said, “I told you I was bringing you home a box of tomatoes.”
(Just to give you a frame of reference – this is the largest bowl we own. It’s a foot-wide “popcorn bowl,” and at six inches deep. It’s a beast.)
Occasionally my grandmother Barr and I would pour a glass of wine on a Saturday night and have a little phone gab session. That Saturday I told her about the abundance of tomatoes that were living on the coffee table. (No joke, the kitchen was too small for the bowl. The coffee table in the living room, however, was nice and wide.)
She knew that I was nervous about canning, so she suggested that I freeze the tomatoes.
“Wait, that’s a thing?” I asked.
She laughed and assured me that yes, it was a wonderful thing. That way we’d have sweet summer tomatoes all year long. Just wash them, dry them, and freeze them.
After that mind-blowing piece of advice, I stock up on tomatoes in the summer and always have a ziplock full of them at the ready.
Which brings me back to the frozen-tomato gazpacho.
I don’t just freeze cherry tomatoes, I also freeze tomatillos, and I freeze beefsteak tomatoes.
So, when the barometer went to “extreme heat,” and I was craving gazpacho – it dawned on me that I could quick-thaw a couple of beefsteak tomatoes, and have a very, very, very cold and refreshing bowl of gazpacho in the blink of an eye.
(Well, maybe not in the blink of an eye considering my sweaty lids.)
So, the next time you’re staring down a family-sized popcorn bowl full of tomatoes – don’t fret. Just wash those bad boys and get them in the freezer.
Then when a hot spell hits, you have an icy cold base for a very, very delicious gazpacho in minutes.
No cool down in the fridge required. Cold and refreshing straight out of the blender.
Refreshing Frozen Tomato Gazpacho
2 lbs. frozen beefsteak, plum, or cherry tomatoes (Of course, you can use non-frozen tomatoes too, you’ll just need to refrigerate the soup for about 4 hours.)
1 large slice sourdough bread (approximately ½-inch thick)
2 small Persian cucumbers
1 medium red, yellow, orange, or green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
½ medium red onion, roughly chopped
¼ small jalapeno, deveined, seeded, and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Place the tomatoes in a bowl of room-temperature water for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes from the water, and slip them out of their skins. (You’ll be amazed how easily that happens!)
Roughly chop the tomatoes, and place them in a blender.
Place the sourdough bread in a shallow bowl, and cover it with cold water. Let hydrate for about 1 minutes, and squeeze the excess water out of the bread. Roughly chop, and place in the blender with the tomatoes.
Put the remaining ingredients in the blender, and process to desired texture.
Serve with your favorite garnishes.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)