Cool Summer Soups Part 1

Cool Summer Soups Part 1

I love making soups.  Especially in the summer.  Cooling summer soups are amazing and just the perfect thing to cool off with when we don’t really want something heavy and we want to prepare it quickly

In my younger days I work in Private Clubs.  We had Chefs that were the best in the country.  They knew how to cook and create.  Infact I attribute my foundation to what food should be like from my experience there in the Private Club.  

The Private Club experience was amazing.  We wore tuxedos and white gloves.  It was impressive.  Food was not rushed, it was supposed to be an experience that could last for hours.  I still dream about working there.  It was perhaps my best experience in learning that I have ever had.  

I learned from the Chef’s there the simple yet absolutely amazing culinary experience cold soup were.  From simple strawberry to a wonderful bing cherry soup that still makes my mouth water when I think of it.   The Cherry one will be in a blog soon.  It is the perfect soup for the summer.  

The strawberry chilled soup also amazing and it for years was a family favorite. It still is,  I just forget how good it is.  For a heartier soup I love gazpacho.   Gazpacho can be so  amazing and it also can be horrible.  I have had both.   The secret with a good gazpacho is fresh and savory.   I don’t like the pureed ones,  I prefer the ones with some chunky and some sauce.  Gazpachos can be so amazing and literally you can do anything with a Gazpacho.  Especially in the summer months when are gardens are teaming with fresh ingredients.  

Gazpacho has a long history,  dating back to the Roman Empire.   It is said that it originated from stale bread, olive oil, and garlic that the legionairs would eat as they traveled.   Later the Spaniards added  fresh tomato and other fresh ingredients and it has evolved to what we have today.  

Gazpacho is really a wonderful cooling soup.  It can be served alone or with fresh grilled meats or fish.  It can be used with chips or pita breads.  Served with a light sandwich makes for a great lunch or early dinner.   It is also a wonderful way to use up fresh product from your garden or farmers market.   It keeps well and actually taste better the next day after the flavors have had a moment to mingle.  

As mentioned with was traditionally served with stale bread.  I love to use fresh baked croutons from my stale bread.  Croutons are easy to make.  When I think I am not going to use up a loaf of bread I just cut it up in chunks and drizzle with  olive oil and my Fragrant Italian Seasoning and bake them to a nice golden brown.  Totally amazing and totally wonderful with the gazpacho.  

I love to give you formulas that can guide you.  After you get the formula down you can create your own.   This recipe is like that.  It is a basic, but really good recipe.  You can change anything on the recipe.  For example any and all of the vegetables can be changes.  You can add squash, radishes, jicama, cherry tomatoes, and heirloom.   Fresh herbs  from parsley to tarrragon can totally change the gazpacho to fit any occasion.  

So be brave,  have some fun and enjoy the cooling refreshing taste of gazpacho.  

Chef Brad~America’s Grain Guy              

Summer Gazpacho RECIPE

6 to 10 ripe tomatoes, quartered   Reserved two tomatoes, chopped finely 

1 large avocado, chopped

1 cucumber peeled and diced

2 green onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves

1 cup assorted bell peppers, chopped

3 cups tomato juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Fresh herbs, 3 or 4 sprigs

Salt and pepper to taste

In blender place juice, quartered tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar.  Blend and add remaining ingredients except avocado and pulse twice.  You don’t want to blend or puree.  Add avocado and chill until ready to serve.   

Variations of Gazpacho 

Strawberry: Replace part or all of the tomatoes with fresh chopped strawberries and if you have it use a strawberry balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme or mint. 

Spicy: Diced chilies can take gazpacho to a whole new level.  Removing the seeds tones down the heat.   

Salmon:  I love adding steamed or cooked salmon to my fresh made gazpacho. 

Black Bean and Quinoa: Add cooked quinoa and black beans to really up the nutrition.