I’m so excited! We just came back from the Alemany farmers market after a quick stop at our community garden plot. The garden’s doing great but the market was amazing! Goodbye to all those tiresome root vegetables—at least for now. Heirloom tomatoes are back! It isn’t quite mid-summer yet but they’re starting to look good. I was delighted with the selection. Plus we bumped into our friend John shopping at the same time. There’s a real community experience to be had at local farmers markets. Sure, it can happen at large supermarkets too, but somehow I always get so weighted down by the fluorescent lighting at places like that that I’m desperate to get in-and-out, so never consider socializing. This visit to Alemany almost felt like Brazil when we would meet several of our neighbors on market days.
There was a lot to choose from, and I indulged. This week we bought different types of tomatoes, fresh aromatic garlic that had just been harvested, stone fruits, cucumbers and more! I had my eyes on a stall where they were selling organic overripe heirloom purple Cherokee tomatoes. At just $1.50 a pound, what a bargain! These were a bit too soft for a salad but that’s what I wanted, as they looked perfect for gazpacho.
With this relatively warm weather (I realize that most of the Country is experiencing record-breaking heat, but in San Francisco, it’s only warm-ish) what could be better than a cool gazpacho soup for lunch made with exceptionally fresh ingredients?
I went for an international style here: California heirloom tomatoes, of course the soup idea comes from Spain, I added a tropical Brazilian touch with cashew nuts and garnished with refreshing Japanese cucumber, my favorite.
Cherokee tomato gazpacho
2½lbs ripe organic heirloom purple Cherokee tomatoes, quartered
1 clove of the freshest garlic, minced
½ cup Arbequina olive oil
½ Italian baguette, cut up coarsely
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
½ cup raw cashew nuts
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh black pepper
½ cup water
a few scallions, sliced thinly, both green and white parts
1 Japanese cucumber, sliced
Place bread, garlic, water, salt, cashew nuts, sherry vinegar, pepper, ¾ of the olive oil, ½ of the tomatoes in the food processor and whiz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add rest of the tomatoes to the food processor and whiz again until smooth. Mix it with the first batch. Taste, adjust flavors. Add one or two ladles of soup to a cup or bowl, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with sliced scallion and cucumber. Chill the rest to eat later—if you have any left!