Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Watermelon Gazpacho and other things I used to buy...

My local Dash grocery store has a watermelon gazpacho I adore-- it's simple, but wonderful on a hot day. Thin, slightly sweet, spiced lightly with ginger and cooled with a touch of mint and seeded cucumber, it's a perfect starter, or on a ridiculously hot day such as we have been having lately, a meal with some crackers or pita on the side; if I'm spoiling myself, a crusty baguette. It wouldn't be bad as dessert either, but I like it for lunch or a starter best.

The problem is, I've seen it in the store all of three times since I discovered it three summers ago. In desperation, I made my own yesterday, after making the veg relish I posted about.

It was better than theirs-- Ha! Sadly, I can't give you an exact recipe, but let's be honest-- it's not difficult and you get to make it perfectly this way, for your own tastes.

How to do it: fill your food processor with chunks of seeded watermelon. If it's not sickening sweet, add a tablespoon or two of sugar or one of agave syrup (raw if you're doing the Raw Thing). The sugars help juice it up, too. Then a squeeze of fresh lime, a half tsp of fresh grated ginger, a shake of salt and a few shredded mint or basil leaves, or some of each; I used both. Blend till it's watery with barely any chunks, add another few cupfuls of melon and a grating of lime zest and blend again till pretty smooth and liquid.

Taste and add: more mint, lime, a splash of white wine, ginger or sugar to taste, remembering that the flavors will blend further as it chills. Pulse to mix, add a handful or so of finely chopped, seeded & peeled cucumber. Chill at least two hours. Taste for seasoning before serving. I like this refreshing brew the way I first had it, slightly sweet and deeply cooling with plenty of mint. But you could go another way, make it sweeter or less sweet and add more salt, add diced peaches as a garnish, use more ginger...

It's gonna be good as long as it's cold. It's not the kind of soup that holds well, though, so eat it in a day, day and a half after chilling for best looks and flavor. I'm having leftovers for breakfast right now, with a plum on the side; as baguette weather is not yet upon us, that will have to wait.

Keep Cool! Peace, Mari

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