Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Lovin'

I have found me a new love. I can't get enough of it. I make a batch Sunday, and eat it all week...for lunch, dinner, in-between...I have even had it for breakfast. Watermelon gazpacho. Standard gazpacho with its tomatoes and various veggies has always been a summer staple of mine. This year I took it to a whole new level. There is no meal that satisfies me quite the same way on the hottest of summer days. When served very, very cold, it is refreshing in a way that no other meal can be. At least not that I have yet discovered. 

I found a great recipe on the Food Network website. The original recipe can be found HERE. The recipe calls for 1 tomato plus 2 cups of cubed watermelon among other ingredients. As that is the primary basis for the "broth", I can't imagine how that should yield 4 servings, as the recipe suggests. So, I altered the recipe a bit. The recipe also calls for some raw red onion as well. Now, I am definitely an onion lover. But I started omitting it from my gazpacho recipes as I found it was a bit overpowering. Plus, I eat it everyday for lunch while at work, and I can never get that taste out of my mouth! So, I now leave out the onion. I find the sweetness of the tomatoes are much more pronounced this way as well. But - as I do love a hint of onion, I chose to add a bunch of chopped chives to the finished product instead, which gives it the perfect, subtle amount of that flavor.

In the original recipe, watermelon chunks are served in the soup, along with some crumbled feta. One day, I had some soup leftover, but no watermelon chunks for garnish. I did, however, have some avocado. I cubed it, and added it to the "broth" instead. Fantastic! This produced an unbelievable blend of flavors, accentuated by chopped chive and dill. I also love the addition of a final drizzle of high-quality olive oil to the soup just before digging in!

Another thing I love about this recipe - for some reason, it is incredibly filling! I love a meal that's rewarding, satisfying...and extremely healthy at the same time!

My pictures cannot hold a candle to Deb's - but here you can get an idea of the finished product!

To be honest, I didn't really follow a recipe exactly. And, I do not share Deb's gift for concocting a dish and translating it into a recipe. These are general quantities. My best advice would be to add ingredients, and taste as you go, adjusting the recipe to your liking!

Amanda's Watermelon Gazpacho
(adapted from The Food Network Website)
5 large tomatoes
4 cups diced watermelon
1 cucumber
1 diced chile pepper (optional - sometimes I just use a few splashes tabasco if I want a little heat)
1/4 cup olive oil
a few splashes red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped herbs (chives and dill)
feta cheese for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
extra chunks watermelon for garnish

Place tomatoes in a food processor and puree. Add diced watermelon, cucumber, and chile pepper. Puree again. Add olive oil, a little at a time (you don't need to use all of it) and a few splashes red wine vinegar to taste. Pour into large bowl. Add chives, dill, salt and pepper. Chill till very cold. Pour into bowls, finishing with a drizzle of some olive oil. Add a few chunks of watermelon (or avocado) and some crumbled feta cheese.

This absolutely will cool you down on a hot summer's day! I promise!

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