Francophile Friday: You say tomato, I say tomate!

Friends from college and high school would probably shake their heads in disbelief if they knew how much I love gardening. And they might also question why I have fourteen tomato plants in a four by eight foot area. What can I say, besides I've made the most out of mon potager. (vegetable garden). That, and I have a lot tomatoes – romas, coeur de boeuf, and regular.

So my neighbor, who has twenty plants and a much bigger garden, has been dropping off some of her tomatoes too. And I can't be rude.

So in the dead heat of summer what does one do with a surplus of fresh, juicy tomatoes? Why, hello, GAZAPACHO– served chunky, of course.

(Definitely a five frog rating! I had a dinner party last night
and everybody licked their bowls clean loved it!)

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

What you'll need for four-six appetizer sized servings:
(6) Nice sized tomatoes, (1) Large Cucumber, (1) Yellow Pepper, (1) Red Pepper, (1) Red Onion, (2) Limes, (3) Cloves of Garlic, (1) Avocado, Cilantro (Coriander)- about 1/4 cup, Small Can of Corn, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Créme Fraîche (or sour cream), and dill

The How to:

1) Combine the following in a food processor or blender: 5 1/2 tomatoes, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 onion, 1/2 yellow pepper, 1/2 cucumber (peeled and deseeded). Blend until liquid. Put into a bowl.

2) Add about 2 tablespoons of both the olive oil and the balsamic. Using a garlic press, add three- four gloves crushed garlic. Add 1 teaspoon cayenne, salt/pepper to taste, and the juice of one to two limes. Stir.

3) Dice the rest of the veggies (tomato, cucumber (de-seeded, but not peeled), peppers) and add to the mixture with some corn! Notes: Depending on how chunky you want the soup, add more or less veggies. If you're anti-canned corn, go ahead, use the real thing! Just remember to cook the ear first, and cut the kernels off the cob.

Sadly, I haven't been able to find corn on the cob here. Le sigh.

4) Chill! Not you, but put the soup in the frigo! The more it's chilled; the better it tastes!

5) Before serving, chop up some avocado and cilantro, adding to the soup after it's been plated. Serve with a dollop of Créme Fraîche, a sprinkle of fresh dill, and a small lime wedge. Another option for a garnish is a crisp dill pickle – the way they serve it at Chuck and Harold's in Palm Beach, FL.

Note: A fun way to serve gazpacho is in a martini glass, which I don't have.
***heads to the store***

In France, when having a dinner party it's customary to serve l'aperitif! Last night, along with my Gazpacho, I served balsamic chips, olives, as well as a verrine of chopped melon, prosciutto, feta and fresh mint, also from my garden. This second appetizer was also delicious and very, very easy to make!

Final note: If you want a spicy kick, dice up one of the above (also from my mon petit potager) and add to the garnish. A fiesta of flavors...


Bon app and bon weekend à tous!

Chef Sam

p.s. Sorry for the terrible photos! My camera is broken and I've been using my iPhone.


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