The more I see of this world, the more connected I feel to it, and yet the bigger it seems. The more I jump around, the more I appreciate the comfort of having a place and a city and people that feel like home, and the more I yearn to leave it to see other places. It’s thrilling to be far away from everything familiar and realize that we share things in common with people half way across the world. But, eventually I’m thrilled at the thought of coming back to the stillness of what I know. Travel is full of paradoxes. …not an original thought, I’m sure. Just as I was starting to feel a little bit weary of living out of my bag, we landed back home in Ottawa. Admitedly it’s totally premature, but I’m already nostalgic for those moments on the road with some of my favourite people. And after trying to get everyone together for celebrations upon our return, I’m reminded of how lucky we are to have been able to take time away from the regular scheduled busyness. We ate well in Europe. In Burgundy, I fell in love with the morning boulangerie truck; in Alsace we gorged on fresh strawberries; and in Paris my family was kind enough to let me drag them around for morning coffee. Once Tristan and I were on our own in Portugal, some days were marked with inventive fare that we were rather proud of, while the occasional meal was dubbed “sad hostel cooking”. Regardless, we wanted for nothing, and even nights when the main course was just a head of broccoli, the dinnertime views made it feel luxurious. One of the comforts that I associate the most with being “home” is being in the bright family kitchen. With a couple days off between getting home and starting back to work, I was happy to putz around making food. Shortly after returning home, there was my mum’s birthday and Father’s Day. Then Canada Day, and the beau’s birthday, too! There was gazpacho for all of that. I’ve been home for three weeks and I think we’ve made a triple batch three or four times; I haven’t heard anyone complain about too much gazpacho yet. I’ve stuck to the same tried and true Gazpacho recipe for years, but I think this one from the Red Apron might be a new favourite. It has just a hint of smoky spice to it, and is perfect for sipping in the sun. I’ve been taking it to work in Mason jars for easy drinking, which my co-workers like to tease me about…maybe they’re jealous?
Gazpacho à la Red Apron
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Either a hand-blender or a blender will work to get your soup to whatever soupy consistency you prefer (I like mine to be a little bit chunky), so you can just coarsely chop up all your veggies to make preparation easy and quick.
I like to double or triple the batch since it keeps well in the fridge, but I tend to reduce the garlic a little bit if it’s going to be sitting in the fridge for a few days –it gets stronger the longer it sits.
Depending on how much heat you enjoy in your cold soup, play around with using half spicy paprika, and half sweet. Of course, it’s all to taste.
1 English cucumber
2 red bell peppers
4 plum tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 garlic clove
3 cups (750 mL) tomato juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) good-quality olive oil
1½ sp (7.5 mL) kosher salt
1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) sweet smoked paprika
1 small bunch each basil and mint (stems removed)
1. Chop up all your vegetables. Blend all ingredients together.
2. Chill until serving. Keeps well for several days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.