Imagine with me an extremely HOT summer day… temperatures in the 100s, and NO air conditioning.  This was the situation when I was in Madrid, Spain in 2001 with 9 of my high school students.  I was staying in a very small apartment on something like the 30th floor.  Wow.  I usually don’t consider myself a wimp, but I have to admit that the heat was really getting to me.  My tiny room had absolutely no air flow, so I was just drenched in sweat when I slept.  I bought I tiny battery powered fan (about 5 inches square) and put it next to my bed for just a little comfort.  One day I came into the apartment at lunchtime and rummaged in the refrigerator for something to eat.  I was staying with a very artsy couple named Jose and Lola, and on this day they had left some gazpacho in the fridge.  Well, I had heard about it but had never tasted it.  At this point, the idea of something cold for lunch was very appealing.  I grabbed a bowl of it along with some french bread and sat outside on the patio.  It was like heaven!   Such a wonderfully appropriate lunch on a miserably hot day.  The Spaniards really know how to deal with the heat!  I begged Jose and Lola for the recipe, and because I am oh so kind and generous, I will share this rare gem with you.  This is authentic Andalusian gazpacho.  Follow the recipe, then taste and see if you need to adjust anything.  I didn’t this time- it was wonderful.  Enjoy it on a scorching day.  Oh, a lot of Spaniards tend to eat it with pieces of french bread in it… yummy.

2 1/4 cup cold water

3 medium tomatoes (I usually use 4ish)

3/4 large green pepper

3/4 cucumber

2 dashes of olive oil

about 1/4 cup white vinegar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 onion

1/4 cup french bread crumbs

1/2 clove garlic

Put the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pass through a strainer.  Chill.

By the way, I strain a little bit, but not much- I like some texture.

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