Oh, Andalusia.  How I would very much like to visit you.  You boast medieval Islamic palaces and sun-soaked beaches, bull fights and flamenco guitar, donkey sanctuaries and operas based off of your Sevillian barbers.

Birthplace of Pablo Picasso, homeland of Federico García Lorca, you have given the world great art.  Originator of jamón serrano and jamón ibérico, Andalusia, you know how to feed your people.  And most importantly, perhaps, you have given the world gazpacho.

That "liquid salad" that is perfect for a hot summer day, perfect for using up all of the bounty of the garden or the CSA box, gazpacho is light, filled with potassium, and depending on your levels of hot sauce, breaks a sweat on the brow.  Perfect for cooling off in a breeze.

Andalusia, you prompt us to pull out the perfectly ripe tomatoes, or even those that are just on their way to turning.  You encourage a liberal hand with the cucumber.  You say an unabashed yes to the raw onion and raw garlic, and you ask us to do the same.  You suggest some acidic additive--be it vinegar or lemon juice--and you propose that tomatoes are not complete unless paired with jalapenos or hot sauce.

So in honor of you, Andalusia, some Lorca and a recipe for gazpacho (from our French culinary hero, Jacques Pepin).  May all young girls with pretty faces, particularly my pre-teen niece whose birthday is just around the corner, spend their time picking olives with the gray arm of the wind wrapped around their waists: far more gratifying in the long run, perhaps, than running off with the Cordoban and Sevillian and Grenadan boys.

Arbolé, arbolé,
           by  Federico García Lorca, translated by William Logan
Tree, tree
dry and green.

The girl with the pretty face 
is out picking olives. 
The wind, playboy of towers, 
grabs her around the waist. 
Four riders passed by
on Andalusian ponies, 
with blue and green jackets 
and big, dark capes. 
"Come to Cordoba, muchacha." 
The girl won't listen to them. 
Three young bullfighters passed, 
slender in the waist, 
with jackets the color of oranges 
and swords of ancient silver. 
"Come to Sevilla, muchacha." 
The girl won't listen to them. 
When the afternoon had turned
dark brown, with scattered light, 
a young man passed by, wearing 
roses and myrtle of the moon. 
"Come to Granada, muchacha." 
And the girl won't listen to him. 
The girl with the pretty face
keeps on picking olives 
with the grey arm of the wind 
wrapped around her waist.
Tree, tree
dry and green.

Arbolé, arbolé,
seco y verdí.

La niña del bello rostro 
está cogiendo aceituna. 
El viento, galán de torres, 
la prende por la cintura. 
Pasaron cuatro jinetes 
sobre jacas andaluzas,
con trajes de azul y verde, 
con largas capas oscuras. 
"Vente a Córdoba, muchacha." 
La niña no los escucha.
Pasaron tres torerillos
delgaditos de cintura, 
con trajes color naranja 
y espadas de plata antigua. 
"Vente a Córdoba, muchacha." 
La niña no los escucha. 
Cuando la tarde se puso
morada, con lux difusa, 
pasó un joven que llevaba 
rosas y mirtos de luna. 
"Vente a Granada, muchacha." 
Y la niña no lo escucha.
La niña del bello rostro 
sigue cogiendo aceituna, 
con el brazo gris del viento 
ceñido por la cintura. 
Arbolé, arbolé.
Seco y verdé.


4-6 Servings

2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded
3 medium tomatoes
1 medium red onion
1 medium green pepper, seeded
2 slices bread, preferably day old or a little stale, torn into 1 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded (if desired)
1 small piece fresh ginger, about 1/2 inch, peeled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups unsalted tomato juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Cut enough of the cucumbers and tomatoes into 1/2 inch dice to have about 2/3 cup of each.  Cut enough onion and green pepper into a 1/4 inch dice to have 1/3 cup of each.  Set aside as garnishes.

2.  Place the remainder of the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and green pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender along with the bread, garlic, jalapeno pepper, ginger, black pepper, and water.  Blend until smooth, then add the tomato juice, vinegar, oil, hot sauce, and salt.  Blend again, just until the mixture is smooth.

3.  Refrigerate until time to serve.  To serve, ladle into bowl and sprinkle some of the reserved garnishes on top.


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