Gazpacho
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As I write this blog post this is my view...

I am at the lake house and summer is officially here!  No matter what the date is, what the temperature outside is, or what type of clothing I am wearing, nothing feels more like the beginning of summer than relaxing on Green Lake in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

What better way to start out the summer then at the lake house with a fresh bowl of gazpacho!  Gazpacho (in case you don't already know) is a tomato-based cold raw vegetable soup that originated in Southern Spain.  It is hands down one of my favorite recipes to make during the heat of the summer months.  Plus, it is very healthy for you, with tons of raw vegetables.  Today's recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa.  If you've never checked out those cookbooks, run to your nearest bookstore and grab one!

Every time I see I see a red bell pepper I can't help be picture one of Georgia O'Keeffe's infamously sensual flower paintings.  They both have a raw visceral texture.  I love art...

Um, where were we?  Oh, right!  Gazpacho!  Today's post is a two-for-one: amazing recipe and infomercial for must-have kitchen tools!

First up is something called Veggichop and is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen.  I use it for everything from fresh salsa or guacamole to chopping up cashews for shirataki noodles with cashews and chili.  The best thing about this is that it is small and easy to clean up!  I used this sucker for chopping up every. single. vegetable. in. this. recipe.  Okay, enough with all the periods - you get it!  This is an amazing product!

Next up...a garlic peeler from The Pampered Chef.  Have you ever tried peeling a garlic clove?  Most say to lay the flat side of a knife on top of the clove and simply press down.  Yes, it works.  Kind of, but I have never thought it was as easy as they say it is.  My way is SIMPLE.  Throw a garlic clove into this rubber tube and roll it against the counter for a second or two.  Voila!  Seriously, buy one.  Right now...you're already online!

I am so excited to share this with you all!  Please take one day this summer and make gazpacho.  Really, there is nothing more refreshing and delicious to have on a hot summer's night.  The recipe is very simple and rather inexpensive - I doubled the recipe and everything only cost me about $25.

Gazpacho

1 hot house cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded 4 plum tomatoes 1 red onion 3 garlic cloves, minced 23 ounces V8 (3 cups) [original recipe calls for plain tomato juice, but I love V8 for this] 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes.  Put each vegetable separately into a food processor (OR VEGGICHOP) and pulse until it is coarsely chopped.  Do not over process!

After each vegetable is chopped, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, V8, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Mix well and chill before serving.  The longer the gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Enjoy!