Years ago my friend Linda made this recipe for me. I had never really liked gazpacho before, but one taste of hers changed my mind. This is NOT your typical, watery, cold soup that tastes like someone threw an old salad in the blender and tried to pretend it was something good.

Linda told me she inherited the recipe from her mother. I'm not sure where her mother found it, or if she invented it herself. If I have inadvertently stolen someone else's creation, I apologize. It was inadvertent. (I am enjoying that word today.)

When Linda gave me the recipe, I was shocked to see that it contained a can of beef consumme. I had assumed that gazpacho was always a purely vegetarian concoction. If you are not a fan of beef products in a can, you might try substituting a vegetable stock. (When I read the ingredients on the can of beef consumme, I was doubly shocked. I am going to search out a more natural version than the Campbell's which contains high fructose corn syrup, MSG, hydrolyzed soy and yeast, etc. Or substitute a home-made beef stock.) I have added a few flavor-enhancers which were not a part of the original recipe. Feel free to spice up your gazpacho with your own favorite herbs, spices, condiments, etc.

This soup is a great way to use up many of the veggies which are overflowing from your garden right this minute. I know I am currently looking for new ways to use tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and patty pan squash. (Ideas welcome!)

2 cups tomato juice (V-8 or vegetable juice works well, too.)
5 whole fresh tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (best quality)
3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
1 green pepper (finely minced)
1 sweet onion (finely minced)
1 cucumber (finely diced)
1 small bunch fresh basil (chopped)
1 can beef consumme (or beef broth or veggie broth)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 jalapeno (optional) finely diced
Worchestershire sauce, to taste (optional)
Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place tomato juice and olive oil in the blender. Blend well. Add can of consumme or broth and vinegar. Blend some more. (You can blend the whole, chopped tomatoes or leave them in pieces.) Stir in all other ingredients. Chill well before serving.
NOTE: I topped my bowl of gazpacho with sliced avocado. Delicious!