Tomato Gazpacho

This cold soup originated in Spain and traditionally was made of stale bread, olive oil, and garlic blended with water or vinegar and pounded in a mortar.  Over time this soup evolved into different varieties, the most popular being a tomato based.  Also gazpacho has become a generic term for cold soups with any vegetable or fruit base.

Great when the weather is hot and the tomato season is at its peak, this soup is very easy to prepare and doesn’t require any cooking. It’s hearty and flavorful yet amazingly refreshing, since it is served chilled.  I looked at many different recipes and ended combining several to come up with the one I liked best.

4 large tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 cucumber
1 small yellow or red onion
2 garlic cloves
2 - 3 Tbsp. vinegar (white or red wine)
¼ extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Skin 3 of the tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water for about a minute until their skins start to wrinkle and split.  Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water.  Once cooled, peel back the tomato skins. 
For the base, liquefy the skinned tomatoes, 1 of the garlic cloves, vinegar and olive oil in a blender until completely smooth.  If you don’t have a high-speed blender you many want to strain the base after blending. 
Dice the remaining tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, and onion.  Mince the garlic clove. Combine all the vegetables into the base in a large bowl, mix well and chill before serving.  The longer the gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.  I like to serve this soup with sliced avocado and cilantro garnish.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Summer is in full swing and the tomato harvest has begun!  I wait for this all year because there is nothing like the taste of a homegrown tomato.  The abundance means we eat tomatoes at almost every meal in one form or another.  This tomato soup recipe is adopted from Sprouted Kitchen and is one of my favorites.

4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 ½ cups broth of choice
1 Tbsp. tomato paste or 2 Tbsp. tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Arrange tomatoes, onion and garlic on a baking sheet.  Drizzle or brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 - 40 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down. Remove and cool slightly.  Warm the broth and stir in the tomato paste.  Add the roasted tomato mixture along with the herbs.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Puree the soup to desired consistency.  You may need to run it through a fine mesh sieve, if a smooth consistency is preferred.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve.