La fête de la tomate !

In Switzerland, the historic town of Carouge in Geneva is hosting its famous Tomato Festival –  known as “La Fête de la Tomate”. This once-a-year weekend event celebrates the different variety of tomatoes grown locally, in home gardens and organically by farmers. Over 50 different varieties of tomatoes will be showcased.

I love tomatoes – all kinds and all colours. And, when they’re in season, they’re even better. They’re delicious raw, marinated, roasted, as a garnish on pizza, in a panini, a salad, blended in a sauce or soup.

Tomatoes are versatile fruits packed with nutrients and antioxidants. They’re a rich source of vitamins A, E and C, potassium, fibre, choline and folic acid. Whether fresh or in a jar, tomatoes have been referred to as “functional food” because they provide more than just basic nutrition.

The phytochemicals in tomatoes known as lycopene play a role in preventing chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In a previous post, I highlighted the health benefits of tomatoes and how to store them so that they retain their flavour.

To celebrate the tomato, today I made an amazing Gazpacho with fresh ripe tomatoes and 100% pure organic tomato purée from a glass jar. It’s a delicious and healthy way to stay cool during the summer heat.

Have a great summer and bon appétit!

Summer Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 5 medium-large very ripe red tomatoes (with juice), stems removed and diced very small*
  • 1½ cups finely diced English cucumber, with peel
  • ½ cup sweet red bell pepper, diced small
  • ½ cup finely diced celery with leaves
  • ¼ cup minced onion (pink, red, yellow or white)
  • 1 green jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 2 cups 100% pure tomato purée, no sugar added
  • ¼ cup lime juice (from 2 green limes)
  • 3 tablespoon (tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 basil leaves, whole
  • ½ tsp dried thyme or one small sprig
  • ½ tsp powdered cumin
  • A pinch of ground cayenne (hot stuff!) or to taste (option)
  • 1-2 whole garlic buds, punctured with holes using a fork (to infuse only)
  • A dash of pink salt & ground pepper
  • ½ cup water

* I keep the peels on the tomatoes because they are rich in lycopene. However, if you don’t like the peels, you can remove them and still benefit from the nutrients (but first, try the recipe with them and see for yourself 😉 !) To remove, put the tomatoes in a big pot of boiling water and boil until skins start to crack. This can take a few minutes. Strain and cool them under cold running water. Peel off the skins.

Procedure

Wash all vegetables. Prepare your ingredients as above and combine them into a big bowl. Mix and cover. Put this in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Take out of refrigerator. Remove the garlic bud(s). With a handheld blender, purée lightly so that the mixture is partially smooth and you still see small veggie chunks. If you prefer a smoother Gazpacho, then purée longer.

Adjust pink salt and ground pepper to taste. Serve chilled. You can transfer the soup to a big juice jug and pour directly into small bowls or mugs. Garnish with basil leaves. Store leftovers in a covered container in refrigerator.

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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