It is that time of the year again. My kids are asking for gazpacho. One of the things I find when I cook is that if you start with a basic recipe, you can add on and change anything according to your tastes. That is one of the things I love about this recipe. I was given this recipe probably about 23 years ago by my college friend’s mother. She was a fantastic cook. I have used these recipe over the years and have adopted it many times based on my whim of the season.

2 – 3 large cans of plain tomato juice
1 sweet or spanish onion – diced into small pieces (I probably only use 1/2 an onion)
1 red pepper – diced into small pieces
1 green pepper – diced into small pieces
1 yellow pepper – diced into small pieces
1 large cucumber – peeled, cut in half, scooped out and sliced into small pieces
4 celery stalks – sliced in half and then cut into small pieces
1/2 cup or more of apple cider vinegar
6 large tomatoes – deseeded and sliced into small chunks (you could also use 12/14 italian tomatoes)

As you can see, I sort of feel my way through the recipe.

Pour all the vegetables into a large container. Then, pour the tomato juice over the vegetables until they are completely covered and then about one inch or so over that. Then, pour in about 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (the apple cider vinegar is key). Shoot in a couple of dashes of tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir. Now taste. If you want it more vinegary, throw in a bit more vinegar. If you want it more spicy, throw in some more tabasco. I personally like it more vinegary and probably use more than 1/2 cup. I probably use about 1 cup. If you want it more tomato soup like and less vegetables put in more tomato juice. Etc.

Put in the refrigerator and chill for about 4 hours.

This recipe can take on more. During the summer, I grill corn and throw the kernels in. I sometimes serve this gazpacho with crab meat and sliced avocado on top. It is a great basic for the summer. I know someone who throws in worchestshire sauce at the end to add a different flavor all together. I also throw in chopped cilantro sometimes.

Enjoy and experiment.