published Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Gazpacho: It’s cool!

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    Kelley Courter's gazpacho is a mixture of vegetables, olives, herbs and spices.
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Courters' Kitchen is a monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.

BARRY SAYS: Its name sounds like something that requires a scientist with a degree in gastronomy, but gazpacho is essentially soup. According to a book Kelley has that was first published in 1967, gazpacho is a Spanish dish that can be prepared dozens of ways and served at any time of day or for any course of the meal.

No matter how it is prepared or when it is served, it is always served cold, meaning on those really hot summer days, it a tasty, refreshing and delicious meal. And, if you use the right ingredients, meaning fresh produce from your favorite local market or grower, it can be really good for you.

KELLEY SAYS: It's hot, and summer is upon us. Not using the stove these days works for me. I was introduced to a version of this recipe when I was 17 years old. The first moment I tasted the cold tomato soup, I thought I was in heaven. It was cold, crunchy and tasted like nothing else I'd ever tasted. I grew up eating vegetable soup, and while it was homemade and good, this was a whole new experience.

On Sunday, when we walked through the Chattanooga Market, I really wasn't thinking about soup. I gathered fresh beets, onions, cucumbers, radishes and carrots. I also checked out the Alchemy Spice booth to see if they had any new flavors for the season. I came up with this version of my 1970s menu for an updated version of the classic gazpacho.

BARRY: Every bite had a new flavor. I tasted some woody flavors and some smoke flavors and of course the herbs. Cilantro, then jalapeno, then cucumber. No doubt, it will only get better with a little time.

KELLEY: This is a soup that you can make your own. Add whatever fresh ingredients you have and pop in the blender. You could also switch up the seasonings with fresh basil and Italian spices. This soup is a great way to use up all that extra produce you get from your summer garden. It's a no fat and low calorie recipe as well.

Gazpacho

6 medium tomatoes, peeled (any variety will do and they don't need to be the same)

1 stalk celery

1 green bell pepper

2 small red bell peppers

1 large jalapeno

1 large radish

1 large cucumber

1 cup total beet, radish and carrot greens (thick portion of stems removed)

1 cup cilantro

10 Lindsay Natural green olives

1 12-ounce can V8 juice

2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon cumin seed

2 tablespoon Alchemy Chive Jive spice blend

Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, pulse to your desired consistency. We prefer a bit of crunch and thickness, but you be the judge. Adjust spices and seasonings to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

You may garnish with additional chopped cucumbers, olives, radishes and a squeeze of lime. You also may add croutons. Makes 4-6 appetizer servings. Use within five days.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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