We all find comfort in recipes, but have to accept the fact that any particular recipe is unique to the individual who put pen to paper. It's the development of skill and technique that builds confidence, not the final dish. Instead, embrace the process. Block some time to shop, prepare, crank the tunes, even take a break to go for a quick run. It is not the result that will be fulfilling it is the fact that you ventured on a path with destination unknown.

Quick Gazpacho Salad

Inspired by the classic soup, this salad combines cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes and red onion. Because they are all finely chopped, the recipe is a kind of lesson in process--but you can always pull out the food processor if you're in a hurry.

Serves 4

  • 1 english cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cored and seeded
  • 6 plum tomatoes or 4 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 to 4 cups V-8 or tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped basil

Chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1/2-inch cubes.

Combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, juice, vinegar, olive oil, cilantro, basil, salt and pepper.

Stir well and refrigerate to two hours, giving the salad time to chill thoroughly and for the flavors to "marry". 

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

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