kelly wahlquist

Catholic Evangelist & Speaker

Kelly Wahlquist is a dynamic and inspiring Catholic speaker whose gift of weaving personal stories and Scripture together with practical advice allows her audience to enter more fully into what Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have called us into - to be witnesses of our faith and part of the New Evangelization.

Soup & Stories

My friend Lisa Schmidt over at ThePracticing had a brilliant idea! For Lent she is having different bloggers post various soup recipes with a little story to accompany the recipe. I was blessed to be the first Soup & Stories feature. Be sure to check out her site and follow along this Lent. It's a great way to build your recipe box!

Here's my post on ThePracticing Catholic, titled by Lisa as The Joy of Gazpacho


Barefoot Confession up front. I am neither Italian nor a countess, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking I can cook like the Barefoot Contessa. (At least I got the barefoot part down. Well, in the summer anyway!)

I really do love to cook. In fact, it is one of the ways I relax after a long day of working in the vineyard of the Lord. There’s something I just love about creating a dish that will bring a smile to the faces, and tummies, of my family. And truth be told, for me, there is something extremely peaceful about cooking with wine. (Couldn’t pass up a vino comment after talking about working in the vineyard! For, as Hilaire Belloc says, “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, there’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!”)

This past winter has been a tough one, even for us hardy Minnesotans. So, after weeks of freezing and trying to warm myself by eating stew, and chili, and yummy comforting pot roasts and soups, I decided to stick it to winter. Two can play this game old man! You want to throw ice and ridiculous sub-zero temps at me to make me cower? Well, you’ve met your match! Albeit, I may be a wee bit cold of a match, but I will fight fire with fire … or… um, in this case, I will fight freezing with …

Cold Soup.

While stew, chili, and pot roast are nice warming provisions for the moment, gazpacho eternally conjures up memories of lazy hot summer nights. And the way I see it, for Lent this is a win-win.

First, when eating this chilled soup we instantly look forward to those days of warmer weather — ah, we have hope — we can feel spring around the corner and we know the summer sun will soon shine upon us. So in my little analogy here, gazpacho is like a little fore-taste of the light and joy of the Resurrection during a cold dark winter. (Bet you never looked at this ancient Spanish, chilled, tomato-based soup as a symbol of the Resurrection before?)

During Lent our attention is on repenting of our sins and rekindling with Christ so we can rejoice in the Resurrection! Thus, as we go through Lent aware of our mortality, we do so with our eyes and hearts set on our eternal life. As you eat your gazpacho this Lenten season, may it conjure up memories of the springtime — the new life — that awaits us, both in our lives on earth and in the Resurrection.

And here’s the second “win” in the win-win scenario. It’s meatless! Add a nice rosemary olive oil bread and a parmesan arugula salad and you got a Friday night meal!

Barefoot Contessa Gazpacho (download printable copy here)

Serves 8-10

2 hothouse cucumbers, halved and seeded, but not peeled

3 red bell peppers, cored and seeded

8 plum tomatoes

2 red onions

6 garlic cloves

46 OUNCES tomato juice (6 cups)

1/2 CUP white wine vinegar

1/2 CUP good olive oil

1 TABLESPOON kosher salt

1 1/2 TEASPOONS freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and res onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer the gazpacho sits, the more flavors it develops.

Serve chilled. And don’t be afraid to do so in sub-zero temps!

Read more Soup & Stories entries here.

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