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!”
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?