Yeah, I know I have a book release coming up next Tuesday, (Cat Star Legacy 1: Maverick) but right now, I'm more concerned with what to do with all the produce from my garden! I've made squash soups, several loaves of zucchini bread, zucchini pancakes, ratatouille, two batches each of salsa and sweet pickle relish, fried up a ton of okra, and frozen enough green beans to make it through the winter.
Just when I think I have things under control, I go out to the garden and find all the giant zucchinis and cucumbers that have been hiding from me. This year, I planted cosmos, zinnias, and coreopsis in the corners of the garden, and the cucumbers have been climbing through them to latch onto the fence. Hidden in the foliage, I don't spot them until they're already humongous!
Gazpacho is another tasty way to use up excess produce. I've made this a few times, and if you double the recipe, you can condense quite a few veggies until they fit into one large pitcher. For added flavor, try adding some fresh basil or use basil-flavored olive oil. (I've made that, too!)
Don't sweat the chopping overmuch. The blender will do most of the work for you.
4 large (not gargantuan) tomatoes, cored and chopped (about 2 pounds total)
2 sweet banana peppers (or 1 of those big, long red ones whose name I don’t know) cored, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 to 2 tsp onion powder (if raw onions don’t bother you, you can use a small white or red onion, peeled and chopped)
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion (or onion powder), and garlic in a blender at high speed until smooth. I usually blend the tomatoes first, then gradually add the other vegetables.
- With the motor running, add the vinegar and salt, then drizzle in the olive oil and blend until creamy and orange-colored.
- Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, and discard the remaining solids. Pour into a glass pitcher and chill until ready to serve. Adjust the seasoning to taste and enjoy!