21st Harvest Week <> September 18 - 24, 2000

Garden Gazpacho
makes about 4 servings

I have in front of me five cookbooks (Joy of... Dean & Deluca... Field of Greens... Moosewood... Rolling Prairie...) -- and each one makes Gazpacho differently!  But since I like to compare & contrast and come up with my own version anyway (I'm sure you'd never get that idea based on the recipes I come up with!), that's what I've done here for you, keeping in mind what's in our share boxes this week!  -- debbie

approximately 4 C chopped tomatoes & their juice (feel free to supplement with cherry tomatoes!)
2 medium-sized mild peppers, stem, seeds and membrane removed, coarsely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped (remove seeds if you like)
1 small summer squash, coarsely chopped (yes, remove the stem first); a yellow one is nice for color but not required
1 small onion, red, yellow or white, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
approximately 2 tbsp. red wine or champagne vinegar, possibly more
1 tbsp. flavorful olive oil
1 tsp. or so fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice (optional)
2 tsp. honey (optional)
1 handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 seeded/chopped jalapeno (optional)

Combine all ingredients except vinegar in a food processor and puree. Empty into a bowl and add/stir in vinegar, a bit at a time, tasting as you go, until the right degree of tartness is reached. For some reason, I have found it is the vinegar which really gives gazpacho that special 'zing'. But since everyone's sense of sour is different, it is best to do this as I described. You'll know when it is right. And of course you'll want to add salt & pepper to taste. When you've got what you like, refrigerate the soup and chill thoroughly. Serve cold.

The optional ingredients each have their own effect on the soup. Many recipes have honey, but not all. The lemon or lime juice contributes to that 'zing' I told you about, so if you use it, you'll likely want to reduce the vinegar, but again, as long as you add the vinegar gradually and taste-check it, you'll get what you want. I love adding the fresh basil, as it really makes the soup summery and fragrant. And of course for those of you that like a little 'piquante', a little heat, the addition of the jalapeno turns the trick.

Melon or Pear Agua Fresca
(or strawberry, or peach, or...)

In truth, you can make agua fresca from any number of different fruits or melons, individually, or in combination. The key is having fresh lime juice and a little sweetener -- white or brown sugar, or honey.  Fill a blender about halfway with peeled and seeded melon or pear (or some of both!), throw in 3 or 4 ice cubes (to cool things down if you like; ice is optional though), juice of a lime and about 3 tablespoons of sweetener, then fill about halfway, or maybe a little more, with water. Puree thoroughly. If it is too foamy for you (When you whip the bejeezus out of something in a blender, air is sucked in. Not a lot you can do about this!) and you don't like this, let it rest awhile (refrigerated) & remove excess foam that rises to the top. Otherwise, stir and pour and enjoy! Oh, and one blenderful makes enough for two tall glassfuls, sometimes a little more.

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