Over Memorial Day weekend, David and I spent a lot of time out in Kenn's neighborhood, looking for places to have a snack. He has to eat a lot more often than he used to, which is great overall, since he always ate sparingly before, but is also disconcerting, because...well, he ate so sparingly before!
We've always taken a certain pleasure in sharing meals together, though, and were deighted to find a little cafe called Bittersweet. In addition to pastries and coffee, Bittersweet served light lunches, and the day we were there, Gazpacho was on the menu. This one gets pretty close to theirs.
1/2 pound tomatoes (about 2 or 3 medium)
1 cup onions, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 medium bell pepper, seeds removed
5 ounces pimiento
14-ounce can tomato juice
1 clove garlic
2 tsp olive oil
2 or 3 slices of bread, cubed
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp tabasco sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp chives, chopped
In an electric blender or food processor, combine half each of the tomatoes, onions, cucumber, bell pepper, and pimiento with enough of the tomato juice to facilitate blending.
Blend covered at high speed for at least 30 seconds to thoroughly purée the raw vegetables.In a large mixing bowl, combine the puréed vegetables with the remaining tomato juice and chill for at least 2 hours. You may also elect to chill the serving bowls at this time.
Meanwhile, rub the interior of a skillet with the clove of garlic, and add the olive oil. In the skillet, sauté the bread cubes over medium heat until golden brown. Set aside until serving time.
Chop the remaining tomatoes, onions, cucumber, bell pepper, and pimiento, and combine in a small mixing bowl while adding the red wine vinegar, Tobasco sauce, salt, and pepper.
Thoroughly combine all ingredients and marinate at room temperature until serving time; or refrigerate if you won't be serving the gazpacho within an hour.
To serve, place equal portions of the gazpacho in the chilled soup bowls. Add about 2 tablespoons of the marinated vegetable mixture to the center of each serving. Sprinkle with the chopped chives, and garnish with a few of the toasted bread cubes.