summer gazpacho

august has been slipping away from me. david and i were able to escape for a long weekend to doe bay on orcas island for their annual summer music festival. it just so happens, that the festival lined up with my birthday this year (huzzah!) you can't quite beat listening to live music in the sunshine on a picnic blanket with your guy on a gorgeous island while sipping an island hoppin' brew on your birthday. orcas island is my most frequented vacation destination (for so many good reasons), but i had never made it to the music festival before. it felt like the island population doubled overnight for the festival [ok - actually, the population of orcas is about 4,000 and the festival brought in about 2,000 folks. on such a small island, it was kind of comical] it was a very different vibe from our last visit over new years, when the island was very sleepy and quite. both experiences, however distinct, created some wonderful memories. 

so my birthday has come and gone, which always reminds me that summer is quickly approaching fall... i keep making large batches of gazpacho, enjoying the tastes of summer for as long as is possible. the heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers market are amazing!! but so are their 'under the table' over-ripe tomatoes (who cares if they are just getting mushed up into bowls of gazpacho?) my shopping list for every trip to the farmers market has been pretty much limited to all the ingredients for gazpacho. oh and doughnut peaches. i could happily live off of gazpacho and peaches for the month of august. 

gazpacho ~ serves 4

2 large over-ripe tomatoes
1 medium cucumber, peeled
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 banana peppers, or 1 1/2 bell pepper
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup red onion
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
1 pinch red chili flakes

garnish options:
1 avocado
1/2 bell pepper (i used a purple pepper for added color)
1/4 cucumber, peeled

prepare vegetables by washing and dicing into smaller bits. using either a food processor or blender, blend together tomatoes, cucumber, water and oil with garlic until juicy and fairly smooth. add peppers, cilantro, red onions and pulse briefly. i like a bit of chunkiness. season to taste. to garnish, top with slices of avocado or a mini 'salsa' of diced peppers & cucumber with avocado. drizzle lightly with olive oil. serve chilled or at room temperature. great with garlic -sauteed shrimp or ears of grilled corn.