Summer Gazpacho with Sweet Corn, Avocado Crema and “Mexican” Bruschetta

Ahh Summer! Don’t you just love the warmth and flavors that summer harvesting brings to your table? What a blessing it is! We started the tomatoes in our garden both from seed and from starts. As it turns out, the seed starters are nearly outperforming the plant starts.  We have some nice tomatoes coming in. That means starting to think creatively in order to use and save these beauties.

For this recipe, I removed the traditional bread that is normally used to thicken the gazpacho and put it on the side as a tasty, crunchy accompaniment.We served this for a Meatless Monday vegetarian dish, but we have occasionally grilled shrimp with it and served it pescetarian style. I also fire-roasted (=grilled) the tomatoes, peppers and corn. You can easily make this recipe without doing that, but I think it adds some really nice depth to the soup. Plus FIRE. Alternately, you could roast them in the oven on a sheet tray with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Adding a little blessing and gratitude elevates this cooking time with mindfulness.

A blessing for food and fed
Today as we break our bread
Blessings on fire, food and maker
Bless plant, seed, and sun
We all are one
For good of all and harm to none
Help us to nourish each other.

This recipe does take some prep work, and it’s really important to let it sit in the fridge to process all that flavor for at least an hour before serving, but I promise you it’s worth it!

Ingredients

For the soup: Serves 6

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 ears roasted corn, trimmed from the cob (Trader Joe’s sells this frozen!) + more for garnish
1 jalapeno, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 yellow or orange sweet pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 c chopped cilantro + more for garnish
3 basil leaves, chopped
2 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
3  c diced tomatoes, roasted, peeled and chopped (you can use canned!)
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Add large and raw vegetables first into food processor, pulsing in short intervals and adding smaller vegetables one at a time. The goal is to get everything combined, but still have some texture.You may need to work in batches and then combine in a large bowl. Add seasonings and combine well, tasting often and adjusting to your taste. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Top with a drizzle of crema, a tsp of corn kernels, slice of avocado and some cilantro.

For the crema:

1 c sour cream or greek yogurt
1/2 lime, juiced
1 avocado, peeled and seeded
1 tbsp. cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. agave (optional)

Directions: combine all ingredients into a small food processor and combine until smooth. Put into a squirt-type bottle for ease of serving (optional, you could also just drizzle with a spoon) over the soup.

For the Bruschetta:

1 baguette
1 c shredded cheese, your choice of flavor (we used a mixture of pepper jack and cheddar)
1 -1/2 c canned refried beans (your choice of black or other flavor)
pico de gallo or your favorite salsa for topping
queso fresco and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions: slice the baguette into 1/2-1 in. slices and spread on a large sheet pan. Spread a layer of refried beans on each slice – not too thick, but not terribly thin, about about 2-3 tsp. or so. Next, sprinkle cheese over the beans. Place in a broiler on LOW for about 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is crispy on the edges. Remove from heat and spoon pico de gallo/salsa and queso fresco. Serve while warm, with the chilled soup.

Blessed Lughnasadh – Welcome August!