By the end of April, 85% of Americans were living under some form of stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many have been taking the opportunity to cook family meals at home with two newfound luxuries — time and togetherness — that normal circumstances don’t often allow.
According to Google Trends, the most sought-after recipe worldwide since March 1 has been for banana bread. Six of the top 10 recipe searches were for baked goods. Google searches for “bread” reached an all-time high in late March, and Nielsen data revealed that sales of baking yeast were up 457% from last year for the week ending March 28, as Americans rushed to stock up for home baking. Grocery stores have been struggling to keep items like baking powder and flour in stock as consumption has skyrocketed.
But as temperatures rise during the summer, home cooks following safer-at-home guidelines might look for other recipes — delicious, budget-friendly and simple ones using ingredients you can easily find in your pantry and fridge, or easily procure at the grocery store. Rather than standing in front of a hot stove or oven, quarantine bakers might find comfort in preparing cooler dishes.
Enter UCLA Senior Executive Chef Joseph Martin and his tomato gazpacho recipe. In a spring quarter defined by remote learning, UCLA Dining Services served 2,400 meals a day on campus, in contrast to the 32,000 it dishes out daily during normal times. While Martin and his colleagues are quickly adapting and adjusting to the new conditions, he’s hoping Bruins who aren’t on the Hill can enjoy this recipe at home.
Remember: The crabmeat or avocado garnish is optional, so feel free to add others — like chopped bell peppers — to suit your tastes.
And don’t worry if you’re preparing this dish for just one or two. While the recipe serves four to five, this gazpacho tends to get better and better as it sits in the fridge. It should keep for three days, so feel free to save yourself a bowl or two for later.
4 to 5
4½ cups ripe tomatoes (11 Roma tomatoes or 6 large beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes), chopped
1⅛ cups English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, chopped
5 tablespoons red onion, chopped
6 tablespoons red bell peppers, seeded, chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cumin
2½ ounces fresh basil
5 ounces crabmeat, or to liking
5 ounces diced avocado, or to liking
Put the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and bell peppers in a blender and puree until liquid.
Add olive oil and red wine vinegar to the tomato mixture and season with salt, sugar and cumin.
Pour the tomato mixture into a sealable container, add the fresh basil, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Then use the blender to puree the tomato mixture with the basil, and pour it through a fine-mesh strainer.
Drizzle in additional olive oil, and then repeat the puree.
Garnish with crabmeat or avocado — or both.