The cats are panting, the tea is sunning itself in a tall green jar, and all I want to be doing is jumping into this Iowa lake over and over and over.
It’s officially summer. And it’s officially too hot to cook. Thanks to an inspired vegetarian dinner party that my sister put together for friends a couple of summers ago I now have the solution for hot summer nights. And it is as fun to say as it is to make: Gazpacho.
I have to admit, the first time I remember trying gazpacho I was less than smitten. A bunch of us were celebrating my sister’s upcoming wedding at her friend’s family’s lake house on Pine Lake (one of the thousand Pine Lakes in Wisconsin) and while I have many wonderful memories from that excursion, trying the gazpacho was not one of them. Everything else was magical: A swimming adventure across the lake to jump on someone else’s water trampoline, sitting on the dock at night with my mom and sister and talking about their year spent in Moscow, a sailboat ride with a nalgene full of gin and tonic, singing ‘You are my Sunshine’ around the large wooden dinner table while the setting sun glowed through the tall windows that were cranked open to allow a breeze. And a dessert- so simple, so summer perfection in a bowl- blueberries, sour cream, brown sugar.
But I didn’t give up on gazpacho entirely, and when my sister suggested making it again, I was ready and willing. This time it was love. Here is my sister’s recipe for gazpacho.
1 bottle of Knutson’s Very Veggie Juice
1 T olive oil
1 (or 2- depending on how spicy you like it) jalapenos, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
1 clove garlic
1/2 white onion, chopped
Optional: tomatoes, carrots
Blend all ingredients, but leave a little chunky (I used my birthday gift- a hand-held blender- and did it right in the pot). Chill for at least an hour. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a sprig of cilantro, if you like. Enjoy on a hot summer day.
For our dinner party two summers ago we served it with beergaritas and a black bean taco bar (And dark chocolate and coconut sorbet for dessert? Or I am daydreaming that?) Last night I added a side salad of raw kale with salsa verde. Happy summer.