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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage with Delicious Cuisine

Celebrating Hispanic heritage is something everyone can do. Even those with Hispanic roots, for instance, can celebrate the many contributions Hispanics have made to society. Be it Oscar-winning actors like Javier Bardem or renowned educators like Jaime Escalante or legendary musicians like Tito Puente, Hispanics have impacted all walks of life.

Another area where Hispanics have made their mark concerns cuisine. Hispanic foods remain a favorite of many, and foodies need not be of Hispanic heritage to enjoy the vast array of Hispanic foods. Those who want to celebrate Hispanic heritage with some delicious cuisine should consider the following recipe for "Mexican Gazpacho" from "Easy Entertaining" (Ryland, Peters & Small).

Mexican Gazpacho

Serves 6

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 large cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

4 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

4 cups fresh tomato juice

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, pan-toasted

1 teaspoon mild chili powder

1 ripe avocado, cut in half and pitted

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes

Freshly ground black pepper

Cilantro leaves set in ice cubes, or chopped cilantro, to serve

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic with the salt until well mashed. Put the cucumber, bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, and onion in a bowl, add the mashed garlic, and mix well.

Transfer half of the mixture to a food processor and pulse until chopped but still slightly chunky, and then scoop it into a bowl. Spoon the remaining mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add this to the chunky mixture in the bowl. Mix in the tomato juice, cumin, chili powder, and pepper, to taste.

Chill in the refrigerator for several hours until very cold, or overnight. If short of time, put the soup in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.

Cut the avocado into small cubes, toss in the lime juice until well coated, then stir into the chilled gazpacho.

To serve, ladle the soup into chilled bowls, then add a few cilantro-leaf ice cubes or sprinkle with chopped cilantro.