Cherry Gazpacho

There is nothing more satisfying on a hot, muggy Iberian night than gazpacho.  And I have already professed my love of cherries, so that’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.  A gorgeous, sexy, luscious cherry gazpacho.

Actually, there are many, many variants of gazpacho.  Of course there is the typical tomato, then there’s Salmorejo, which has bread and less vegetables than gazpacho, there’s Ajoblanco, made from almonds, olive oil and garlic, and then there is the myriad of variations of tomato gazpacho….melon gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho, the list could go on and on.

For cherry gazpacho, I don’t like to add onion or garlic, since you want to enhance the taste of the cherry, not overpower it.  I also omitted the cucumber, because there are some people who prefer not to have it in gazpacho altogether.  Instead, I chose just to use cherries, tomato, yellow pepper (because it is slightly sweeter than red) and lemon instead of vinegar.  I think that lemon gives it the perfect acidity it needs, and it is also sweeter and balances better with the cherries.  When it is done, you will have this gorgeously hued soup.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

About 450 g of cherries, pitted.

Half a yellow pepper, chopped, two tomatoes, chopped and one lemon.  Then about 3/4 cup olive oil, and salt to taste.

Bread cubes, fried in a little bit of olive oil.

Place the pitted cherries, chopped tomatoes and yellow pepper into a blender or glass for immersion mixer.  Add the olive oil.

It’s really important you add the olive oil to the vegetables BEFORE blending, because if not, it won’t emulsify.

Blend, and then add your lemon and salt, tasting to see if it needs more of either.  I always squeeze half of the lemon first, and then if it needs more, I will do the rest.  Also, if it is too thick, add some more olive oil.  It should be quite liquidy…..gazpacho is NEVER chunky.

Strain, with a chinois if you have one, to make sure you have no seeds or skin.  Chill for at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Garnish with the bread crumbs, or you can improvise, add some crumbled feta, some toasted sesame seeds, some sprouts…..make it your own!

Sit outside, sip your gazpacho, and ponder the universe.  Or enjoy it with friends and family.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Chilled Tomato Soup with Yogurt

I adore tomato soup.  Especially in summer, when tomatoes are the ripest and juiciest, and the weather is warm, warm, warm.  This weekend was a holiday, and we had some friends in town from Germany, so it became this long and drawn out Bacchanal of food and wine.  Last night, I needed something light, not too filling and delicious.

I decided to make my tomato soup as always, but instead of adding fresh cream at the end, I decided to add low-fat greek yogurt.  The end result was incredible.  I don’t think I ever want to have tomato soup with cream again, EVER!!!!

The soup was smooth and luscious, but the yogurt gave it this wonderful tang, almost as if you had added sour cream, but without the fat!  And with only 2 tbsp of olive oil, you know you are giving yourself a heart-healthy and delicious treat!

So, here’s what you’re going to need:

For 3 people

4 large tomatoes, grated

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

8 sundried tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp of fresh thyme

1/2 tsp cinnamon

400ml of vegetable stock

200g low-fat greek yogurt

salt and black pepper to taste

In a large stock pot heat the olive oil over med-high heat, add your onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or translucent.  Add your tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes.

Add your sundried tomatoes, thyme, cinnamon and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to medium.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes.  Take off the heat, let it cool and blend your soup.  Strain the soup with a chinois, and add the yogurt and whisk until incorporated.  Add your salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately or let cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours to have a silky smooth gazpacho-like soup.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla