When it’s too hot to use the stove, and you have sweetly ripened tomatoes, make gazpacho. Serve with sangria, crackers, cheese, olives or whatever else pleases you, and enjoy your personal Spanish tapa experience.
It’s the tomatoes that make the flavor and it’s surprising how easy it is to make because you basically throw eight ingredients in the blender and purée away. You need to chill the gazpacho for at least six hours and be sure to use a metal bowl. I don’t remember where I got this recipe but I did highlight it five years ago at this same time of year. Be careful because the ingredients fill a typical blender to the top.
The sangria recipe is from the “Better Homes and Garden Mexican Cook Book.” It makes enough for a party so half the recipe for a smaller crowd.
Gazpacho topped with toasted ground pumpkin seeds
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, stemmed, rinsed and dried
1 fresh or canned Anaheim chili, about 4-5 inches long
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
3 teaspoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar, balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
Make the toasted pumpkin seeds first then use the same blender to make the gazpacho.
Wash and dry the ripest tomatoes you can find. Core and seed the chili. Chop the tomatoes, onion and chili into large chunks and put into a blender with the garlic clove. Blend at a high speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender every so often.
With the motor running, add the vinegar and salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil. Depending on the color of your tomatoes, you will have a smooth pinkish colored liquid.
If you don’t want seeds, strain the liquid through a strainer pushing it through with a spatula or wooden spoon. Chill for at least six hours or overnight in a metal bowl.
Before serving, taste and adjust flavors. Serve in chilled glasses or bowls with the ground pumpkin seed mixture. Serves six.
Toasted ground pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar, optional
1 teaspoon lemon rind zest, chopped finely, optional
1/2 teaspoon thyme, optional
Toast the seeds in a frying pan over medium heat or use the oven. To toast in the oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put the seeds in an 8-inch square cake pan and toast seeds for about 15 minutes. Every five minutes check the seeds and shake the pan so they toast evenly. Seeds should be mostly brown and slightly puffed. Remove from oven and cool.
When cool, put into the blender with the salt, sugar, thyme and lemon rind. Run the blender until you have ground the seeds into a meal. Can be refrigerated and stored in a jar for a few weeks.
2 bottles, 1.5 liters rose or red wine
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1 28-ounce bottle carbonated water, chilled
Chill one orange and one lemon for garnish. Squeeze juices from the orange and lemon into a large pitcher or punch bowl. Add wine, sugar and brandy. Stir to dissolve sugar and chill. Just before serving, prepare the fruit. Slice lemon and oranges into wheels and cut apple into chunks. Add fruit to the chilled wine mixture and slowly stir in the chilled carbonated water. Serve. Makes 12, 8-ounce servings.