Hey Muchacho, Make Gazpacho (and Parmesan Grilled Cheese!)

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Hot? Hungry? Have I got a solution for you. It comes courtesy of Suzanne Goin and her “Sunday Suppers at Lucques.” It’s her recipe for Yellow Tomato Gazpacho and you can read it here. It’s INCREDIBLY easy, and INCREDIBLY rewarding. All you need are yellow tomatoes, a jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Oh, and a cucumber. I leave the cucumber for last because there’s a funny story about me buying the cucumber that involves a FOOD CELEBRITY from TV, but you’ll have to click ahead.

Ok, it’s not that great a story. I was at the farmer’s market buying all of my ingredients and then I read Suzanne’s instructions to get “3 Persian cucumbers or 1 hothouse cucumber.” I lifted a cucumber from a stand and I asked the man behind it, “Is this a hothouse cucumber?” and he said, “We don’t grow our cucumbers in a hothouse.” I was puzzled. “So is the same thing as a hothouse cucumber but you don’t grow it in a hothouse?”

A woman called to me. “What do you need it for?”

“Gazpacho,” I answered.

“Oh,” she said. “That’ll be fine.”

The woman didn’t look familiar but then, as she walked away, I saw who she was with: Gail Simmons from “Top Chef.” I was starstruck!

And now for the gazpacho and the detailed process by which you make it. To document how complicated it all is, Diana and I made you a video:

Suzanne says to use a real blender, but using a hand blender in a pitcher only gives you one thing to clean up afterwards and it’s visually dramatic. Here’s what you have when you’re done:

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Chill for a while, pour into a bowl, add chopped onions, peppers, cilantro and cherry tomatoes and you’re done! And it really hits the spot, especially in the heat of summer.

But if you’re still hungry, as we were, you’d do yourself a service to buy some bread and to make Amanda Hesser’s recipe for Parmesan grilled cheese. This is a brilliant recipe because fresh Parmesan is something you should have in your fridge anyway. So you slice the bread thinly, you grate lots of Parm on top, grind pepper on top of that…

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…close the sandwich up and then heat 2 Tbs of butter in a skillet. You add the sandwich…

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press down, and cook til golden brown on one side and flip and cook the other side until golden brown too.

And that’s it! Diana thought it was a clever take on tomato soup and grilled cheese–am I the Thomas Keller of amateurs?–and, yet again, a lovely summer meal.

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