Last year I went nuts making roasted tomato sauce, ladling it into freezer bags, stacking them in our tiny fridge-top freezer compartment, and waiting for the winter doldrums to set in.
You know. Those doldrums that can only be satisfied by a taste of summer. Whip out a bag of sweet-acidic red nostalgia, melt it into a kettle with some dreary root vegetables, and grasp at fleeting memories of late sunsets, skeeters over the grass, and the flavor of August in your mouth.
Well, it did happen a few times. I made a couple of pots of temporally incongruous minestrone soup, doling out miserly dollops of my precious tomato elixer. I thawed a sack or two for some long-braised meats, long-forgotten now. I even wallowed in a few self-indulgent bowls of tomato soup, made once with cream, next time without (stunningly deep and pure) and then one more time with cream (or yogurt or something).
But I'm not kidding when I tell you we've only used about two-thirds of the tomato sauce I preserved.
And I'm not kidding when I tell you I'm already buying fresh tomatoes at the market for only $2 a pound. I had a plate of sliced 'maters last night, drenched with stellar olive oil and showered with sea salt. Heaven.
Furthermore, I'm not kidding when I tell you I'm already planning on roasting up more batches of nature's bounty in a few months, when the price drifts downward to about a buck a pound for ridiculously ripe, need-to-be-used-NOW tomatoes of all varieties: sweet, dark, wet, tart, thick, cracked, big, small...
Between now and August, though, I've got a few more bags of last year's bounty awaiting a quick thaw, and I plan to make quick work of them.
Today's lunch was my template for many lunches to come: A sack of thawed tomatoes. A splash of cucumber juice. Some chopped peppers, onions, peasant bread... Oh, you know the drill. You've memorized your own favorite recipe for gazpacho; you don't need to hear mine.
Well, I must persuade you that the concentrated flavor of slightly roasted tomatoes makes the best damn gazpacho, and I recommend it.
Now, if I can just eke out those few remaining sacks of tomato sauce until I'm ready to roast again...
UPDATE: Not that this soup could ever compete with the "George Clooney of tomato soups."