Peach Gazpacho

A handful of farm fresh vegetables can be turned into a no-cook meal in minutes
A couple of weeks ago, on a hot Saturday afternoon, I was foraging in the refrigerator at my mother-in-law's house, looking for something to turn into our lunch.  We had a lot of cucumbers and some random vegetables, along with access to fresh herbs and tomatoes from the garden.  I quickly discovered I could whizz everything up into a quick gazpacho, and Voila! We had a healthy soup for lunch.  After thinking about how easy it was to turn a handful of vegetables into a no-cook soup, chockablock full of healthy seasonal vegetables, I realized that I ought to be making this garden elixir delight more often.
A few pantry staples helps season this soup and let's nature's
own flavor shine through.
Strolling through the Collingswood Farmers' Market this past Saturday, I perused the freshest tomatoes, yellow zucchini, Italian peppers, fresh carrots, juicy peaches, and vine tomatoes so ripe they were blushing from freshness.  After purchasing my provisions from Schrober's, Flaim, and Formisano's Farms, I came home, washed the vegetables and tossed them into my mighty Ninja blender.  In less than 20 minutes, I had several quarts of soup, without heating up one single burner or pilot light on my stove/oven!
Season the soup with hot sauce, olive oil, and vinegar
This gazpacho recipe can be readily adapted to what you have on hand, either in the refrigerator now, or whatever you fell like picking up from your Farmers' Market forays.  If you have stuff in your garden that's in (over) abundance, this is a great way to make and share those multiplying cucumbers and zucchini in a new tasty way.
Once done, refrigerate to chill the soup for at least one hour
No measurements are needed...but for those of you who don't trust a recipe without actual steps, I've broken down the ingredients for you.  You can make a little or a lot.  If you make a lot of soup, keep in mind it only holds for about 4 days, 5 max.  After that it starts to go "fizzy" on you and won't be edible.  If you make too much and you can't share it with friends, family, or neighbors, you can cook the soup down and turn it into a sort of pasta sauce or cooked vegetable soup base.  Which you can then freeze and use when it's time to turn the stove back on come Autumn.

If you can't eat peaches or don't like them, omit them.  I found the peaches added a sweet nuance that you don't expect.  Plus it's a twist on a fruit soup.
A Pint Jar of Soup to Share - your neighbors or friends
will appreciate this garden exilir.
Peach Gazpacho Ingredients:

  • 3 Fresh Ripe Peaches - washed, pitted and cut into chunks (yes, you can keep the skin on!)
  • 2-3 Medium Yellow or Green Zucchini - washed and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Bell or Italian or Cubanelle Peppers - washed, seeded, and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Large Cucumbers - peeled, seeded, and cut int large chunks
  • 4 Medium Carrots - washed, peeled, and cut into large chunks
  • 4 Small/Medium Plum or Roma Tomatoes - washed, cored, seeded, and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 Medium Red or White Onion - peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves - washed and stems removed
  • Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon White Wine or Sherry Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Celery Seed
  • 1 Tablespoon Seasoning Blend such as Salt-Free Mrs. Dash (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Hot Sauce - to taste
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste

Directions:

  1. Clean and prepare all the vegetables.  Use a large blender or food processor.  Work in batches and puree the vegetables a work bowl at a time so not to crowd the blender or food processor.  As the mixture begins to liquefy, pour the contents into a large mixing bowl.  Be careful to not over-process, you want to have some texture to the mixture, so that it's not completely smooth or liquefied.  
  2. Once all the vegetables have been "whizzed", scape out the work bowl and put all the contents into a large mixing bowl.  Season the soup with the zest and juice of the lemons, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of celery seed, 1 tablespoon of seasoning blend (if using), and the olive oil.
  3. Taste, and then season with hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.  Remember, this soup will be served cold, so be generous with the seasonings as they will not be as noticeable once the mixture is chilled. 
  4. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving, tasting and adjusting seasonings once more before serving.  Makes about 2 quarts of soup. Will keep, covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  5. To turn the soup in a sauce or vegetable soup base, cook the mixture over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then cook for 30 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate for up to 7 days, or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
I recommend serving this soup with grilled or toasted hearty bread brushed with olive oil and a few slices of fresh mozzarella or cheddar cheese to round out this no-cook meal.  For vegan options, use avocado slices or vegan "ricotta" cheese on your toasted or grilled bread. 


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