I feel like I’ve typed those words about a million times lately. I think there’s a certain percentage of the baking population who cares more about “fast and easy” than just about any other recipe characteristic.
And you know what? That’s OK. While I wouldn’t want to limit my baking to only dishes using simple ingredients and techniques – and with a preparation time of less than 30 minutes – there are times when going that route sounds extremely compelling.
Like now, when the temperature is climbing into the 80s, and the lawn needs mowing, but oh, how I’d like to be out on the deck, cold drink in one hand, crime mystery in the other…
Which is why I’m SO glad I made up a large bowl of gazpacho first thing this morning.
Reason #2 for turning to a large bowl of gazpacho: after a winter-long indulgence in fresh bread, fudge brownies, and pies of all kinds, I’m looking at my bathing suit and sighing. “Not gonna happen, girl. Time for the gazpacho.”
Several years ago, while following the South Beach Diet (as so many of us were back then), I discovered this tasty, refreshing, somewhat filling, and calorie-friendly cold soup. Made simply of chopped fresh vegetables, vegetable juice, and seasonings – with an optional touch of olive oil – it goes together in just minutes.
And, once made, it stays good for a week or so in the fridge – ready and waiting whenever you feel the urge for a nibble of, say, oatmeal cookie or fudge cake.
Step… away… from… the… carbs…
But not TOO far away. While the biscuits I’ve made to accompany this gazpacho aren’t exactly low-carb, they’re teeny-tiny, thus lower-calorie than a typical biscuit.
And anyway, how could something so cute be bad for you? Enjoy them sparingly with your big mug of Easy Gazpacho.
Let’s start with the soup’s main components: the freshest, tastiest tomatoes, cukes, scallions, and peppers you can find.
Oh, and garlic; you probably don’t have home-grown, but for best freshness, look for a firm, heavy head.
First, listen up: don’t stress over using the EXACT size/weight tomatoes, cukes, and peppers called for in this recipe. If your tomatoes are a bit small, or your cucumber larger than normal, it won’t “ruin” the recipe.
Second, yes, it really really REALLY helps to use a food processor (or blender) to do the chopping. If you’re a good hand with a chef’s knife, go for it; if you’re not, and you don’t have a processor or blender, be prepared to spend some time prepping here.
Take two large tomatoes (about 1 pound; the fresher and tastier, the better), cut them in large chunks, and place in the bowl of your food processor. Process until they’re cut in smaller chunks; about 1/2″ is good. Put them into a very large bowl, at least 1-gallon size.
Next, put the following in the work bowl:
1 medium to large cucumber (about 8 to 10 ounces), peeled and cut in chunks
1 green or red bell pepper (about 6 to 8 ounces), seeded and cut in chunks
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut in 2″ pieces, green parts included
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced or crushed
Chop the cucumber, pepper, and scallions in the food processor until they’re the consistency you like; less chopping = chunkier soup. Add them to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Add 1 large (46-ounce) can vegetable juice (e.g., V8), and the following:
1/4 cup white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional
1 tablespoon ground cumin; or substitute fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
2 tablespoons sugar, to taste; optional
Stir until everything is well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Next up: tiny chive biscuits.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Whisk together the following:
*Substitute 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour for the AP and pastry flours, if desired; if you make this substitution, add just 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and omit the salt.
Add 1 cup of cold heavy cream, stirring until the dough just comes together, but isn’t sticky. Add up to another 1/4 cup cream, if necessary to make the dough cohesive. Note: If using self-rising flour, use 3/4 to 1 cup cream.
Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, gently pat it into a 6″ x 5″ rectangle; it’ll be about 3/8″ thick. Cut the dough in 1″ strips lengthwise and crosswise to make about 30 small (1″) biscuits. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
Place the biscuits close together (about 1/4″ apart) on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush them with additional cream, milk, or butter, if desired, for enhanced browning.
So, why the segregation? I was testing to see if putting the biscuits close together vs. farther apart really matters. As it turns out, they don’t spread out sideways much; so spacing isn’t critical.
Bake the biscuits for 9 to 10 minutes…
…until they’re a light golden brown.
Note: These aren’t your typical moist, tender, flaky biscuit. Think of them more as crackers – little puffy crackers with soft centers, that is.
Serve the biscuits with the gazpacho.
Leftover biscuits? I like to put them in a mason jar and leave them on the counter. Gazpacho is in a jug in the fridge, ready to pour.
When the urge strikes: gazpacho in a bowl. Biscuits refreshed ever-so-briefly in the microwave.
Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for Easy Gazpacho with Chive Mini Biscuits.
Print just the recipe.