Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blues and gazpacho

Whoa, it’s really hot outside—getting into the high 90s again today. All the metaphors are true . . . you know them. Like an oven, asphalt bubbling, frying an egg on the hood of the car.

Drove into the city yesterday, got caught in road construction, horns honking, exhaust fumes, people losing their minds. But it was worth it. My friend Mary Flower is staying with me for a few days. Mary is an incredible guitar player with a deep repertoire of old blues and ragtime tunes. Yesterday I took her into DC where she co-hosted Bill Wax’s blues show on XM Radio. Lucky me—I got to sit there (very quietly) in the room with them for two hours while they did the live broadcast. The XM Radio offices are amazing. Serene, brick and glass, warmly contemporary building with glass-enclosed studios, vast electronic gizmos like some futuristic cosmic mother ship, giant photos of BB King and Elvis and Bonnie Raitt. Conference room called simply Hendrix. Meanwhile I got free coffee, a great parking space, and two hours listening to blues and stories about the music and musicians. I was in blues heaven.

So in deference to the heat outside and the blues buzz going in my brain, I’m giving you my gazpacho recipe. My daughter loves gazpacho, even lived in Spain for a while, and this is her new favorite.


1 can (46 ounces) tomato juice
5 beef (or vegetable) bouillon cubes
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup unpeeled cucumber, chopped
¾ cup chopped green pepper
½ cup chopped scallions, with tops
8 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon (or more, to taste) Tabasco sauce
1 large clove garlic, crushed

Heat tomato juice, add bouillon cubes, and stir until bouillon dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients and chill for at least 12 hours. (Best if made a day in advance of serving.)

Serve cold with seasoned croutons (homemade if possible) and a wedge of fresh lime.

8 large servings

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