Summertime in south Louisiana means porch sitting, floating down cool, lazy, Louisiana rivers, and inventing every possible way to avoid turning on the stove or the oven and heating up the kitchen. Sometimes I feel too hot to cook, but eating is always an option especially when you have access to summer produce.
As the temperatures hover in the mid 90’s with a heat index of over 100 my potted plants wilt and so do I. That’s when I begin to imagine cool and refreshing simply cooked or assembled raw food requiring minimal energy and time in the kitchen. The market this week had just the answer to my menu dilemma with peak season locally grown veggies and fruits that had great possibilities for a perfect Sunday afternoon lunch; Creole tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, blueberries and peaches.
Try this Creole tomato gazpacho with mint and basil pesto. I served this recently with a marinated crabmeat salad and Louisiana blueberry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream. Check out my blog for more of these easy summer recipes using summer seasonal vegetables and fruit such as tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, watermelon, corn and okra. Turn of the stove and go to no cooking recipes this summer.
I already feel the temperature dropping!
The home grown tomato and cucumber flavors intensify and show off in this savory, and spicy gazpacho.
4 C seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 cup seeded and chopped cucumber
½ C onion, finely chopped
½ C bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
4 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne or to taste
1 can V-8 juice
You must have a food processor to make this soup. This list of ingredients is an estimate and can be increased or decreased or creatively added to however you like. Chop all veggies in processor. I like to leave the veggies chunky rather than pureed. Place in large bowl. Using a large spoon or whisk, stir in seasonings, olive oil, vinegar, and V-8 juice until gazpacho reaches the consistency you desire. Chill and serve. May need to adjust seasonings after chilled to make sure it has the kick you want. I served my gazpacho with a dollop of fresh mint and basil pesto.