August 15, 2012
While Life is more than just food, food is also Life! Let’s eat!
It was mid-July and it was 96 degrees in southern New Hampshire where we’re setting up our US home base. To keep cool, I’m making a refreshing, hydrating, cold summer soup, Watermelon Gazpacho, inspired by two things – heat (jalapeno) and cold (watermelon). Gazpacho was made frequently in the summer time at Life Café. I made this special soup with assistance from my sister Jeanne. I love cooking the most when I do it with friends and family!
There are numerous varieties of gazpacho. It’s the sangria of soup and there are infinite possibilities. So don’t be afraid to adjust the ingredients to your liking. And it’s vegan. If you happen to have green or orange bell peppers on hand, you can use them. Just make sure your watermelon is ripe and sweet for more flavor. You might also like to try substituting half the orange juice with pineapple juice. Some recipes call for tomatoes. And you might prefer fresh mint leaves to the parsley. Go with the flow, let the seasonal produce you have on hand be your inspiration.
Dice into ¼ inch pieces:
2 cups sweet, ripe watermelon
1 seedless cucumber
1 small yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion or sweet Vidalia onion
2 medium cloves garlic
1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
Fresh parsley and/or cilantro to make 2 tablespoons
In a blender or food processor, process until pureed ½ cup of the watermelon, along with:
2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, cold pressed
Transfer to a medium bowl, along with the remaining ingredients. Add:
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This is the perfect dish when it’s hot and you don’t feel like eating. But when you eat it you’ll want more (try it with corn chips) and you can have as much as you want without guilt. You’ll astonish your meal guests with this soup; who’s ever heard of mixing watermelon with garlic and jalapeno! But you’ll get rave reviews all around. The marriage of these ingredients is an unexpected and exotic blend of flavors. Use it as a first course or a surprising and colorful contribution to a summer potluck – just be sure to serve it in a clear glass bowl to show off the colorful ingredients.
This soup can be made several hours before serving. Some say it’s better served the same day it is made and others insist that refrigerating it overnight enhances the flavors. In this case, you might want to use half the jalapeno as the heat increases over time.
Enjoy Life and its food.