Backyard garden gazpacho

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACooking without a recipe is easy during summer’s overabundant produce harvest.  Sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sheep’s milk feta, grilled zucchini, cucumbers and sliced sweet onions with rice vinegar and dill–so many of my favorite summer foods simply require a bit of prep and assembly.

My gazpacho falls into this “some assembly required” category.  I gather up tomatoes, cucumbers, chives or vidalia onions, basil, dill, mint, slivered almonds (for body and texture; substitute stale bread as an alternative), and whatever garden items need to be used, from watermelon, strawberries (as pictured) and canteloupe to zucchini and leafy greens.  All goes into the food processor for a whiz, then I taste and adjust, aiming for a balance of salty, sweet, and piquant, adding a little sea  salt, vinegar, extra melon or whatever else strikes my fancy.  Reserve a little produce, cut into small dice, to garnish each serving.

I don’t even bother to peel the tomatoes!  (Oh, the horror.)  Peeling tomatoes requires boiling water, and it’s too damn hot to stand over boiling water after working out in the garden.  If your idea of gardening is a trip to the farmer’s market, you might want to peel the tomatoes before you puree.  Either way, the soup will be packed with color and flavor.

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