July 31, 2011

Cucumber Gazpacho

In the same vein of the recent zucchini dishes, cucumber has been abundant in the local produce bins.  The 90+ degree weather calls for cold meals, so I came up with a light cucumber gazpacho with coconut milk and greek yogurt to keep it light and tangy.  After making the refreshing base, very finely diced pepper, cucumber, shallots, and celery are added for crunchy texture.  The soup is topped off with crushed and toasted macadamia nuts.




Cucumber Gazpacho
Base:
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 bunch scallions, whites only
1-2 jalepenos
1 clove garlic
handful of cilantro
1 can coconut milk
3/4 cup greek yogurt (0% fat)
1/3 cup light sour cream
Topping:
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded.
1 bell pepper
4 ribs celery
1/2 jalepeno, seeds and ribs removed
1 small shallot
crushed and toasted macadamia nuts

Base: Chunk the peeled and seeded cucumber, scallions, garlic, and jalepenos and add to the food processor.  Pulse until the larger pieces have broken up.  Next, add the cilantro and coconut milk up to just under the liquid fill line and blend until as smooth as possible.

Remove the blended mixture to a large bowl and add the remainder of the coconut milk.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes.  Utilizing a sieve placed over another large bowl, strain the mixture to remove the remaining slightly gummy vegetables.  Whisk in the greek yogurt and the sour cream to thicken the base and add some unexpected and cooling tang.  Season with salt and pepper then chill for at least 2 hours before adding the topping.

The completed base
Topping:  Finely dice the cucumber, peppers, and celery by first cutting in long thin strips, turning the strips by 90 degrees, and then cutting the strips into tiny squares.  The shallot is diced similar to an onion and then I ran my knife back through to ensure an even dice.

The steps to a perfectly diced cucumber!
The vegetables are added to the base and then let to chill for at least 2 hours before adding the final topping.  The macadamia nuts were toasted in a clean skillet until they started to emit a lovely nutty smell.  I quickly chopped the nuts and topped the chilled soup.

The perfect answer to both local cucumbers and an outrageous heat wave!

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