Harvest of Blessings

In the early ninety’s, we journeyed on one of our much loved trips to visit my brother, sister-in-law and niece in beautiful Santa Barbara CA. During that visit we were on an outing and my brother’s mother-in-law, Wanda, was with us. We stopped at a Trader Joes. When we got back into the car she handed me a bag and inside was a marvelous cook book. (Wanda knew I loved to cook). The book’s title was A Slice of Santa Barbara– California Riviera Cuisine. It was put out by the Junior League of Santa Barbara. It has become one of my cherished cookbooks over the years.
I always think of Wanda whenever I grab it from my bookshelf!

Today, I am going to share the recipe I have made more than any other from that book. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve made it over these many years and it’s still a huge favorite of mine and Larry’s. One reason is because it’s full of freshness from the garden. Not mine; since I don’t have one, thankfully I have generous friends who do have gardens, plus Farmer’s Market. So….here it is!

I am typing the recipe as it is in the book. I have never followed it exactly. At the end, I will tell you the changes I make.

Gazpacho Salad
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon cilantro
¼ cup salad oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon chili powder ¾ teaspoon snipped fresh basil

In a mixing bowl combine tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onion and cilantro. For dressing, in a screw-top jar, combine oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, basil, cumin, mustard, and chili powder.

Cover and shake well. Pour over vegetable mixture, toss lightly to coat. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a salad bowl and garnish with avocado slices. Serves 4

Now for my version—-I always triple the amount of tomatoes and use 1 large cucumber. I chop the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and cilantro. I omit the green pepper, fresh basil, salad oil and vinegar. I replace the oil and vinegar with approximately 1 cup of Seven Seas Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing. (A bit more if needed)   I quadruple the sugar, cumin, dry mustard and chili powder.

After chopping all the veggies, put the dry seasonings into the jar, mix them up and pour in the Seven Seas Dressing. Shake well and pour over the veggies. Stir well and transfer to a large container. Chill.

I have not ever used the avocados with this either. All of the flavors mixed together are delicious!! We eat it like it is or put in on grilled meat. After I made it the very first time I put 4 stars on the recipe. It’s that good!! My version serves 12