I just returned from a 10 day vacation to Italy, where I indulged in pizza, pasta, wine, and gelato. I’m back in DC, and the summer heat and Italian food overindulgence has me craving light fresh foods.

One of the great things about summer is the availability of delicious, local tomatoes. In the winter, when tomatoes are not in season, I typically roast them to deepen their flavor. During the summer, I just want to enjoy them raw with a sprinkle of flaky salt and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.

Sometimes, I’m greedy and buy more than I can eat immediately. Whenever I have some tomatoes that are too ripe to slice, I make a quick gazpacho. It is refreshing, and surprisingly filling when paired with some diced avocado.

The next time I make this, I will be using some of the olive oil I brought back with me from Italy. And I might even experiment with a fun Tuscan cherry vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar that the recipe calls for. I hope you are enjoying your summer!

(Adapted from Saveur)
1 slice baguette, about 2 inches thick, crust removed
2 baby cucumbers peeled, and chopped
1 lb. ripe orange tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ of a small garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

1 baby cucumber, diced
½ avocado, peeled and diced
¼ of a lemon
Aleppo pepper

1. Place the bread in a bowl, and cover with water. Soak the bread for 15 minutes, then squeeze out the moisture with your hands.
2. Add the bread, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and ½ cup water to a blender, and blend until very smooth.
3. Season with salt.
4. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Divide into two bowls, top with cucumber and avocado, drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice, sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Serves two.

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

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