Thankfully, the weather has finally cooled down here in Southern California. However, the heat and humidity of the past few weeks have had me searching for new ways of staying cool. It's been the kind of August that's found me stashing watermelons in the fridge for a cooling treat, or making refreshing smoothies out of frozen fruit.
Cooking has been minimal, and baking has been out of the question. I haven't been able to bear heating up the house by using the stove or the kitchen. Luckily, there are any number of dishes which can be made without a heat source. Summer is a great time to switch to a Raw Food detox diet if you're looking to beat the heat.
My White Gazpacho soup is healthy, quick, easy, and delicious. Most of the work lies in preparing the ingredients. The actual "cooking" only involves buzzing everything together in a blender. This dish is very similar to classic Spanish white gazpachos. However, I've added a few extras. A Granny Smith apple lends its tartness and a hint of sweetness. Green bell peppers add a fresh sharpness to counteract the richer dairy products, and give the soup its pleasing green tint. Ohba Aoshisou, the leaf of the Japanese beefsteak tomato plant, brings its unique combination of mint and basil flavors to the party. To make the soup healthier, I've changed the standard yogurt to sour cream ratio. I also use stale bread and ground almonds, both traditional gazpacho ingredients, as thickening agents.
Recipe for White Gazpacho
1 chef's knife, Santouku knife, or Chinese cleaver
1 cutting board
Ingredients (White Gazpacho):
1/2 loaf of stale bread
1 package of Ohba Aoshisou (available in most Asian markets)
1 medium lemon
2 green bell peppers
1 large Granny Smith apple
3 large cucumbers
5-7 cloves of garlic
1 lb of green grapes
2 cups of nonfat yogurt (preferably organic)
1 cup of sour cream (preferably organic)
2 cups of unseasoned chicken broth
1 cup of slivered, toasted almonds
Sea salt & ground black pepper
Prep work (White Gazpacho):
Soak the stale bread in water until soft, but remove before it becomes mushy. Takes roughly an hour. Squeeze out as much of the water as possible and set the bread aside.
Wash the grapes and remove the stems. Reserve the grapes for use as garnish.
Remove the stems, seeds, and pith from the green bell peppers. Finely dice a quarter cup and reserve for use as garnish. Roughly chop the rest and set aside.
Peel, halve, and seed the cucumbers. Slice into centimeter wide pieces. Set aside.
Peel and clean the garlic. Set aside.
Juice the lemon and remove the seeds. Toss the apple chunks with some of the lemon juice to avoid browning.
Core and peel the apple. Cut into chunks and set aside.
Roll the shisou leaves up into a tight cylinder and slice fine. Reserve a third for use as garnish. Set the rest aside.
Reserve 1/4 cup of the almond slivers for use as garnish. Using the blender, grind the rest up as finely as possible. Set aside. You can leave the almond meal in the blender if you like.
Instructions (White Gazpacho):
Load all of your ingredients other than the salt, pepper, and garnishes into your blender. Puree them until very smooth. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to buzz the soup in several batches. Near the end, add sea salt and ground black pepper to taste.
When plating, garnish the soup with the grapes, green bell peppers, shisou, and slivered almonds you resevered earlier. Be generous.
I sincerely hope you'll try my recipe for White Gazpacho out for yourself. It's a great summer dish that will help you feel better and stay cool.