September has arrived, and with it the routine — if not the cooler weather — of fall. As much as I love summer, autumn is my favorite season, and I think that routine has a lot to do with it. While back-to-school brings hectic mornings, the days and weeks have more of the structure that I crave. The weekends are filled with activities – from football games and kids’ birthday parties to planning for the upcoming holidays and family gatherings.
Because we live in Florida, we are treated to wonderful fruits and vegetables year round, even through the fall and winter months. Our farmers markets may slow down a little, but they never truly stop. We may miss out on some of the traditional summer produce — like watermelon and blackberries — but that’s okay. Because it’s time to move on, you know? I’m ready for fall. I’m craving the comfort foods of autumn…the hearty chili, braised beef short ribs, Brussels sprouts with bacon, satisfying bean soups, and all things pumpkin. Definitely pumpkin pie.
But, again, because we live in Florida, and because today is September 1st, it’s still hot out. And it will be hot out for a while longer. So, I’ve made a no-cook soup to share with you, using some of the best late summer fruits I had on hand. This one won’t heat up your kitchen since the only appliance you’ll need is a blender.
For this gazpacho I used some juicy peaches, gorgeous ripe tomatoes, some basil, and a bit of jalapeno to give a little kick at the end. When served chilled, this cold gazpacho is a refreshing first course to serve with an end of summer meal. Or, you can have it as I did — as a snack on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon after gym workout.
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This is my contribution to September’s roundup of recipes for gourmet, unbound, the collaborative project celebrating Gourmet Magazine’s 68 years of food knowledge. Head over to read the other great posts from the other devotees of Gourmet.
Peach and Tomato Gazpacho
Yield: 4 first course servings.
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped (4 cups)
1 pound peaches, pitted and chopped (2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno (seeds removed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Pureé two-thirds of tomatoes and half of peaches with shallot, jalapeno, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons basil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute. Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids. Stir in the amount of water required to reach the consistency you desire. Let chill in refrigerator.
Make tomato peach salsa: Toss together remaining chopped tomatoes and peaches with remaining tablespoon oil, remaining 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, remaining teaspoon chopped basil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl.
Serve soup in bowls topped with tomato peach salsa.
Adapted from this recipe from Gourmet, September 2005.