Foodie Tuesday: An Awkward Gift & Summer Gazpacho

A number of years ago, I received a present from my boyfriend’s* mother: a cookbook featuring over 200 recipes of one-pot dishes. It was an innocuous enough gift, except for one thing. It was a Weight Watchers cookbook. Can you imagine the mortification of getting a Weight Watchers cookbook from your boyfriend’s mother!? Noting my deer-in-the-headlights expression of confusion and incredulity, my boyfriend’s mother quickly assured me that she owned the very same cookbook, and that it was one of her favorites. She’d gotten the book for me because of its wholesome practicality, not as a passive-aggressive hint about my weight.

I haven’t seen or spoken to that ex-boyfriend (or his mother) in years, but I do frequently turn to The Weight Watchers “In One Pot” cookbook for its healthful, simple recipes. Most recently, I made gazpacho, which proved to be quick, easy, and very adaptable. The chilled soup, chock-full of vegetables and laced with the zing of jalapeño and hot sauce, is the perfect antidote for summer’s heavy humidity and high temperatures.

Gazpacho (loosely adapted from the Weight Watchers “In One Pot” cookbook)

1 beefsteak tomato, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 seedless cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded & diced
3 cups organic tomato juice
2 cups organic vegetable broth
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Generous handful of cilantro, chopped
Sriracha (to taste)
salt (to taste)

1. Combine the tomato, bell pepper, zucchini, cucumber, red onion, garlic, and jalapeño in a large bowl.

2. Combine the tomato juice, broth, vinegar, cilantro, Sriracha, and salt in another large bowl; pour over the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Variations: Add some cooked chicken or shrimp and a bit of diced avocado for a heartier soup. For a bit of richness, you could top the soup with a dollop of sour cream. I think a sliced hard-boiled egg would be a nice addition, too.

*I know, I know. This is the second consecutive post that has begun with an anecdote involving old boyfriends. What can I say? My love affairs with food have at times been indistinguishable from, well, my love affairs. Embarrassing as it is to admit, I remember many flavors and ingredients with far more clarity than I remember some of the men…

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