Cold soup for hot days

It's summer, the time for us to enjoy the weekly Farmers Market at Mills Park. At this time of the year, we can obtain fresh, locally grown produce. By supporting the Farmers Market, we can create some fresh, great summer recipes. I'm going to focus on farm or homegrown tomatoes.

My first recipe is for gazpacho. Gazpacho is a wonderfully refreshing, cold Spanish soup. It can be served as a light lunch or as an appetizer for a summer dinner. Gazpacho can fit into any summer meal. It's easy, healthy, and versatile, especially when made with high-quality vegetables. Gazpacho is low-calorie -- a gourmet alternative to V8 Juice. To your health!


1 English cucumber, peeled and diced

4 fresh-picked tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and diced

1 small sweet onion (Maui, Mayan, Vidalia), peeled and diced

1 bunch green onions, peeled and chopped to match size of other ingredients

2 cups "clamato" tomato juice

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

2 T. good olive oil

1 dash tabasco

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1 dash sugar

Kosher or sea salt and fresh-round pepper to taste

Dice all solid ingredients uniformly -- the same size. Mix together in a large bowl. Add clamato, vinegars, olive oil, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper

Mix well; chill for at least 2 hours or overnight

Make sure you taste it and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Makes 4 servings as a light lunch entree or 6 servings as an appetizer or first course.

One more fresh tomato recipe that incorporates watermelon, another summer favorite. This salad mixes hot and sweet flavors--its roots are Arabic.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Spicy Feta Sauce

1 large jalape-o chili

6 ounces feta cheese

1/2 cup hot water

5 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher or sea salt and fresh-ground pepper

Dozen 1/2-half-inch thick wedges of seedless watermelon, rind removed

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 T. finely sliced basil

Roast the jalape-o directly over a gas flame or under a boiler until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic to stand for 10 minutes. Then peel, stem, and seed the chili and transfer into blender. Add the feta, hot water and 1/4 cup of the olive oil; process until smooth. Scrape feta mixture into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange watermelon (criss-cross points up) on a platter. Surround watermelon with tomatoes. Scatter the basil on top of watermelon and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve with feta sauce on the side. Makes 8 servings as a salad course.

*The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

These are a couple of very fresh summer recipes that I hope you will try and enjoy. Remember to shop at the Farmers Market from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays to enjoy the summer's finest produce.

Molly Gingell owns Molly's Gourmet Catering, takeout and cooking school at 220 W. John St. in Carson City.


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