It definitely feels like summer is here.

I know that the actual summer season has not begun—fun fact, I would know, my birthday falls out on the official first day of summer! But the sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky and my weather app has not shown me a temperature below 85 F in weeks. To me, that means summer whether or not the calendar agrees. My 7th-floor apartment is high up on a hill and faces west, without a single building in the way of the afternoon sun, so with my floor to ceiling windows my apartment becomes an oven after 1 PM (unless I keep the AC on full blast). Knowing this, I still wouldn’t give it up—you would understand if you’ve seen the view from my balcony (and dining room and kitchen). With my apartment as hot as it is, I try to avoid making it any hotter, which means avoiding the oven and stove during the afternoon hours if possible. My poor AC can’t handle the heat. It’s already broken 5 times.  For dinners, it doesn’t really make such a big difference since I cook later in the evening, so the sun has most probably set or is at least starting too by the time I get started. With my new plan of getting all my Shabbat cooking done Thursday so the hubby and I can enjoy our Friday off and not waste it being in my kitchen all day when it’s so gorgeous out, I end up in the kitchen Thursday during the day sweating and trying to get things done.

I have since come up with a bunch of things I can that I serve on Shabbat while avoiding heating elements. For example, my summer rolls, a hummus platter, and just this past week I made a 7-layer dip that involved no cooking at all and was such a hit, I can’t wait to share! Those are all great, but they’re all missing one thing: they’re not refreshing. Sure, they’re best served cold or at room-temperature, but they don’t give you that feeling like downing an ice cold water poolside on a scorching hot day (you know what I’m talking about, there’s nothing like it). I felt like I needed an appetizer that would give me and my guests that feeling. Especially since my AC likes to cut out at random times and I always need to be prepared for that on Shabbat.

Growing up, my dad always hated hot foods. Even in the winter, he’s that person that puts ice cubes into their nice and hot chicken soup. Because of him, my mom would try and come up with different cold soup ideas so that everyone would be happy. We had this amazing cherry soup, and now that it’s cherry season here in Israel I can’t wait to try that. We also had a huge vegetable garden (I miss the days where a big backyard was a given) and grew all kinds of tomatoes, so eventually, the family soup of choice became gazpacho. Back then we just called it cold tomato soup, but in Hebrew since that was the language in my house. I called up my mom last week and asked her what she used to put in her gazpacho and she gave me a list, but of course with no specific measurements at all. So I set out to try and create the perfect gazpacho for this dessert heat based on those partial instructions. I must say I am really happy with the results! It’s light and refreshing, has some exotic tastes, doesn’t involve me getting my apartment even hotter. Plus, it gets presented in such a beautiful way without any waste! I used the inside of the tomato bowls to make the gazpacho. So with summer just around the corner, add this appetizer to your shabbat menus and you won’t be sorry!

Print Recipe
Gazpacho
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
tomato bowls
Ingredients
GAZPACHO
TOMATO BOWLS
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
tomato bowls
Ingredients
GAZPACHO
TOMATO BOWLS
Instructions
Gazpacho
  1. Using a serated knife, cut an X in the bottom of the tomatoes, just piercing through the skin and flesh.
  2. Bring water to a boil water and drop the tomatoes into the water for 1-2 minutes, until the peel starts to curl off. Take out of the water and run under cold water.
  3. Peel the tomatoes and cut in half. Remove the cores from the tomatoes. Remove the seed from the tomatoes, placing the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible—I get almost 1 cup.
  4. Chop up the tomato flesh and place into a large bowl along with all the other vegetables and seasonings. If you do not like your food spicy, omit the jalapeño or add a little at a time seeing how much you can handle.
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to however smooth or chunky you would like. Using an immersion blender will give you a chunky soup. If you want a smooth soup use a blender and if you want an even smoother soup, drain it through a cheese cloth after the blender to remove all pieces.
  6. If the soup is a little too chunky and thick, add in the tomato juice as needed and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Serve chilled in tomato cups with basil chiffonade as garnish.
Tomato Bowls
  1. Check if your tomato stands steady, if not, slice off a little layer from the bottom, just enough for it to be steady. Make sure not the pierce the flesh or your bowl will leak.
  2. Slice off a cap from the tomato, around 1/4 inch down. Scoop out the inside and place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl in order to catch the juice to use for the gazpacho.
  3. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Can be made up to 2 days in advance.

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