I love gazpacho. It’s one of those summertime recipes that I can’t resist, year after year. There’s something so satisfying about throwing all that nature straight into my food processor and then straight to the table. Clean eating at its finest.
Gazpacho is also one of the recipes I repeat most often for my clients. One client in particular requests heavy vegetables in all the dishes I make for her, which at times can be a challenge to keep the menu fresh and interesting. But gazpacho is that one fall-back that will always make her happy. It also freezes well, so if I know that a client will be traveling or eating out a lot that week, I can tuck it away for them. I make it often for us, too, especially toward the end of summer when tomato season is coming to an end. There’s just something wonderful about pulling it out of my freezer a month later and getting that last taste of summer!!
We personal chefs often have some fun presentation tricks up our sleeves, too. I know I’ve waxed poetic about my food rings and have shown you how to make a stacked salad with them. But it’s equally fun to make a soup garnish. Here’s how to do it:
First, give your food ring a quick spray with cooking spray and place it in one of your serving bowls. Then slice your avocado in half, remove the pulp with a spoon and place cut-side down on a cutting board. Slice very thinly, then place the slices around your food ring like this:
Next, fill the food ring with diced vegetables (try to use the same ones that are in your soup). Fill it just about halfway so you don’t put too much stress on the avocado slices. I filled mine a bit more than that but you get the idea:
Now carefully lift your food ring straight up! Then slowly pour your soup around your garnish and serve!
You can, of course, do this with any number of soups. Just be sure to make your garnish the same as what’s in the soup (or something that complements it). I wouldn’t freeze the garnish, but you can freeze the soup ahead of time, thaw it and make your garnish at the last minute. Makes for an easy dinner party or just a special family night. The soup in the picture was a surprise for Katie when she got home from Kindergarten last week. Her little eyes just lit up when she saw how pretty her lunch was!
Here are some tips for freezing foods, too:
- Use the right size container. You want as little air as possible to help protect the food from freezer burn. Not too large so you don’t have a lot of excess air, but not to small as the food will expand slightly when frozen.
- Don’t freeze warm or hot food. I try to cool the food down as quickly as possible (especially when I’m freezing something for a client). Sometimes I’ll put some ice in the sink and place the pot or dish on top. The refrigerator can be a big help, too.
- Use containers that are specifically made for freezing. GLAD recently sent me some of their new plastic freezerware to try and I loved it. They’re plastic containers specifically made for the freezer! It was great to have a variety of sizes to choose from and I especially liked that I could freeze my gazpacho in smaller portions so I could pull out just what I needed, instead of having to thaw it all at once.
- Don’t freeze in large portions. Smaller portions are easier to manage and they’ll freeze quicker, reducing the chance of freezer burn.
- Label it! Food looks different frozen and you’ll be more likely to use something if you actually know what it is! Just try and tell me you’ve never pulled something out of your freezer that no longer resembled anything close to food :-)
- Avocado Soup
- Black Bean Soup with Fresh Summer Corn
- Chicken Tortilla Soup with Hatch Chiles
- Lobster Bisque with Old Bay Oyster Crackers
- Lentil Soup Recipe with Parmesan and Smoked Sausage
This is a very rustic gazpacho. I have been known to put it through a fine mesh strainer when serving at a dinner party to make it smooth. Either way, it’s delicious!
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 large cucumber, seeded
- 2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange, but not green – be sure to stem and deseed)
- 1/3 of a red onion
- 2 large or 3-4 small tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or white wine)
- 1/3 cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 t kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the garlic in a food processor and pulse until it’s finely diced.
- Chop the vegetables (cucumber through tomatoes) into large pieces and add to food processor along with cilantro. Process until smooth.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
- Refrigerate at least a few hours to allow flavors to meld, then serve chilled with avocado/diced veggie garnish. You can drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, if desired.