New Orleans Parenting

Gazpacho for Muchacho

Gazpacho (Spanish liquid tomato salad).
Gazpacho (Spanish liquid tomato salad). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, it was a warm, breezy summer night and our family was having  supper outside at our heavy black wrought-iron table, under our umbrella in the backyard. It was a light meal: a little bread, some cheese and fresh fruit. And gazpacho.

When we finished, Monkey pushed his chair back from the table and patted his tummy.

“Mom,” he said, “I’ll bet no matter how old I am, whenever I think of summer, I’ll always think of your gazpacho.”

And before I could smile and say how good that made me feel, to think that I could feed him something healthy that he would forever associate with a specific time of year and –perhaps, maybe — a place and a feeling of family, he added: “And now that I’m thinking about it, can you give me a recipe? Because one day you’ll be dead, and I want to be sure I know how to make it!”

Ahhh boys.

So sensitive.

I know Monkey meant his words as a compliment. And I know he loves my gazpacho — which is really a recipe from my old friend Allison. When we lived in New Orleans, she made her recipe one summer and I remember reacting just like Monkey. It is divine. For me, Allison’s gazpacho is all about hanging out with teacher friends during the off-season.

Here’s the Allison’s Gazpacho Recipe for those of you who love easy meals:

  • 2 cucumbers, reserve about 4 tablespoons
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 small can black pitted olives (drain the juice)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • dash of Lea & Perrins
  • 1 bottle of V-8 (I use regular; some people like it hot)
  • dash of Tabasco sauce

Put all ingredients into a food processor in order listed, pulsing gently — until you get to V-8. Pour V-8 and Tabasco into a gorgeous tureen, then add all the ingredients from the food processor. Garnish each bowl with a few cucumber chunks. Let sit 1 hour in fridge to chill. Serve cold. Easily serves 8-10 people.

What food(s) do you associate with summer? What do you see? Feel?

37 thoughts on “Gazpacho for Muchacho

  1. we had a blueberry crisp last night with vanilla ice cream a perfect end to the last weekend of summer – tastes like summer… there are so many foods, but blueberry crisp with fresh blueberries from Michigan….hmmmmmm

  2. When it comes to the one single food that I associate with summer in general, I have to go with corn on the cob. I’m not talking about the general purpose stuff that you can find at the grocery almost any time of the year. It’s all about finding sources of fresh, sweet, local corn and making the most of the relatively short time that the best ears are available. Depending on the weather, from about mid-July up to Labor Day there can be a three or four week period for enjoying the really good stuff. I suggest…wait…am I down to just two ears? Maybe I should take the back way to the office and see if that one farmer…got to go!

  3. That was pretty much not where I expected that to go! It’s kinda neat that you’re documenting this, whatever the reason; my mom’s recipes were all stored in her head, so that they were lost when she was. I loved her enchilada pie and chicken casserole so so very much, I would eat them in a heartbeat if offered a chance to do so again–no matter how vegan I am! The recipes are lost, but I was delighted to have my sister transfer me one of her cooking tricks during the holidays last year. It felt like a sweet connection to my mom, via something as innocuous as vegan cinnamon rolls, which it warmed my heart to know she’d poke endless fun at. 😀

    1. I love sharing recipes and both of those sound so yummy! I make great enchiladas, but enchilada pie has me intrigued. You’ll have to tell me the difference sometime.

      You’ll also have to tell me how cinnamon rolls wouldn’t be vegan.

      1. My mom’s cinnamon rolls involved milk, margarine and eggs. I don’t know in what quantities, just that they were there!

        I couldn’t tell you what mine involved, just that I got the recipe off VegWeb. Anything/everything I know how to cook is off that site, with a 99% certainty it’s from the quick food section! 😀

  4. Mmmmm! You just gave me a nice food memory. I loved my mother’s gazpacho. She used veggies from our garden in it. That’s now my summer food memory though; mine is watermelon. Summer seems to be the only time you can get a really perfect melon and I can eat the heck out of it! Oh, and I also love garden tomatoes. I planted only two plants this year, but they’ve really been producing. I love tomato sandwiches!

  5. I need to second Brian. Fresh corn on the cob is the best. It’s one of the best things about living in a rural area.

    However, A.B.C. breakfast is something that has been instilled in my heart as the perfect breakfast for summer. It’s a breakfast I’ve had since I was a little kid and went to camp with my family. Then, when I was working at camp, it was one of the few breakfasts I’d actually wake up and go to. Apples, Bacon, and Crumb cake. How can you go wrong? Baked apple slices with cinnimon / sugar “sauce, bacon (the perfect food), and crumb cake. YUM!

    More recently, s’mores have become a summertime staple. We will get a fire going in our fire pit and toast up some s’mores. It’s a great time of family togetherness. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, kids, cousins, etc. all look forward to one of these great after dinner treats.

    1. Okay, I don’t do the bacon thing — but I love the A.B.C breakfast thing! Crumb cake sounds divine and who doesn’t love apple crisp! Maybe I can make some kind of variation of this and leave out the meat.

      S’mores scream summer nights. 😉

      1. I think you could make it work with any meat, really. It could be A.C.S. (Apples, Crumb cake, and Steak / Sausage). You just need something smokey and salty/spicy to compliment the sweet.

  6. watermelon… nachos… s’mores and BBQ’d burgers <– all my summer faves
    I was recently at a wedding where gazpacho was served and they used watermelon as the base instead of tomatoes… I was wary of this at first, but it was quite delicious!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Hi Lindsay:

      I’ve had that kind of summery watermelon soup, too — which was, in fact, delicious. It had mint in it. LOVED it. I should Google epicurious and see if I can find something like that before summer ends.

  7. I’ve saved the recipe. I’ll be calling it Dead Good Gazpacho.
    (dead = very, dead on = sound/just right, deadly = great/very enjoyable)

  8. Okay – so I was going to list all my favorite summer foods but then I read everyone else’s comments and now I’m just hungry.

    Plus, they said them all.


    I like all those foods.

    I’m what we euphemistically call “a healthy eater” not because I eat food that’s good for me, but because I have a highly developed appetite.


  9. Anything I harvest from my garden reminds me of summer. I spent part of my youth in a small town in New Mexico. Everyone had gardens…very LARGE gardens. I loved the sun and could spend hours outside weeding and physically battling pests (we did not believe in using pesticides). When I’m out in my backyard garden singing, “Nothing’s Gonna Harm You” (from Sweeny Todd) to doomed tomato worms, I think about how clean the mountain air smelled and about watching kids (as in baby goats) frolicking in their pen as I sang a different song (Dead Babies by Alice Cooper) to previous generations of tomato worms and squash bugs. (T sighs heavily…only she would consider insecticidal thoughts romantic…good times…good times.) ;}

    Thanks for the recipe, Renee. It looks DELICIOUS!

    1. I love Mexico and would love to go to New Mexico at some point. Like you, I love to be outdoors, my hands in the dirt. I am not a girl who is afraid to get down and dirty. My grandmother taught me to pinch Japanese Beetles in my fingers. Better dead than on her roses.

      i hope you try to recipe. It’s an easy one. Monkey can make it himself. ANd he does. 😉

  10. I second the gazpacho–it is the perfect summer food and I’ve made it a million times this summer! My favorite ingredients are avocados and some kind of fruit–mangos, watermelons, and peaches all work really well I think. 🙂

  11. As I said before, watermelon, tomatoes fresh from the garden. And in agreement with other comments: good local corn on the cob from the farmers’ market and cucumbers.

    The other thing I always think of are berries. We had wild raspberries growing on our property and my sister and I always picked a bunch of them to have in the afternoon with a little bit of sugar. Now, sometimes my boyfriend and I go mountain biking in a park that has wild blueberries and that reminds me of all the pies my mother used to make in the summer. Fall was for apple pies, but in summer, we had custard with strawberries, blueberry, and peach pie.

    In the past few years, I’ve been trying to eat more seasonally and making the effort to find local produce and fruit is so worth it. It just heightens the food memories of the seasons, too.

    Can’t wait to try the gazpacho recipe!

    1. I’m a big seasonal cook. As I alluded to in an earlier comment, hubby prefers fall foods — stews and thick, hearty soups. The other day he ordered some minestrone, and I practically bit his head off. I felt like he was wishing summer away!

      I’m not ready.

  12. That sounds so good. Whenever I tell my mom I like something of hers or she is showing me something she got that she loves she tells me “you can have it when I die.” It’s become a regular joke. 🙂

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