This is the last week of summer. In years past when I found myself overwhelmed by single parenting three kids I would daydream wistfully about the day I would put all of them on the bus and walk home to leisurely get ready for a non chaotic day. This year my youngest, Leo, starts kindergarten, and my oldest, Amira, is going to middle school, which feels like a big step to me.

But now that this day has nearly arrived, I am almost sad. For over 11 years, I have always had someone at home or out of school, other than little snatches of time here and there. Rather than anxiously waiting for them to grow up, I now want to slow down and savor each moment. So I decided to savor this particular summer day by making gazpacho with my daughter.

 Summer always makes me think of gazpacho. I spent my junior year of college abroad in Seville, Spain. I lived with a Spanish family and learned a few crucial Spanish dishes from the mother, Meli. In Seville, as soon as it warms up you see gazpacho being offered in the cafes and tapas bars. They normally drink this cold soup out of a glass.

Here is the recipe she taught me:
5 large tomatoes
2 cucumbers
2 cloves of garlic
balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp
extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup
salt, to taste, maybe start with 1 tsp

Core and then blanch the tomatoes in order to easily remove the skins. Peel the cucumbers as well as the garlic. Put all ingredients in the blender. It will most likely take two batches to do. When I made this in Spain we would offer a sip of it to the man of the house, Manolo, so he could tell us what it was lacking. Almost always the answer was, “Mas sal! Mas vinagre!” Translation- if it tastes bland, add more salt or vinegar. Chill the soup before serving. It tastes better the next day.  

I ran into my friend, Nice Pollido, when Amira and I were shopping for the tomatoes at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro. She eats only raw foods. She said she just cores the tomatoes and includes the skins in the soup. She also suggested a variation of adding either one ripe avocado or some basil for a different flavor. In Spain they also sometimes add bread to thicken it up. Enjoy and be sure to savor this summer day!
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