525,600 minutes, how do you measure, measure a year? Unlike Jonathan Larson, the lyricist for the musical “Rent,” I think food is a better way to measure a year than love. Food is more consistent, and, with proper execution, will always leave a good taste in your mouth.

For me, freshman year has definitely been a year of culinary highs and lows. The highs include buying 30 years’ worth of spices in order to make one aloo gobi dish, adding the scone to my list of dietary fundamentals, and baking chocolate-covered coconut macadamia squares that won the heart of one of my best friends at Wesleyan. The lowest of the lows was getting food poisoning (not from my own cooking, I swear) and subsequently ending up in the hospital.

As the year draws to a close, most of us have some odds and ends in our rooms that we are not going to store or carry home, but that are still perfectly usable. These are the items that we did not devour in one sitting after purchasing them from Weshop, but that did not rot after we forgot them in the refrigerator for several months (a single slice of bread and a pear). If you happen to have a variety of leftover, forgotten veggies sitting around your room, don’t throw them out just yet! Many recipes will help you use up these ingredients, but gazpacho is one of the most summery and fun.

Gazpacho is the perfect light summer dish because it is a puréed cold soup, which makes it essentially a savory smoothie. Really, between smoothies and gazpacho, you need never use your jaw muscles this summer should you make that your goal. Served with quality bread, cheese, and wine, you have a picturesque meal worthy of a beachside sunset.

With this final recipe I take my leave of you, gentle reader, for the next several months. Wherever the summer takes you, I hope it tastes wonderful (if not, reevaluate what you’re doing there), and remember that when in doubt or when seriously desperate, paper towels make good oven mitts, and, with enough upper body strength, you can open a can with just a fork and a spoon.

(Adapted from foodnetwork.com)

1 cucumber, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 white onion
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1. Pulse the cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions in a food processor until puréed but not completely smooth.

2. Combine the vegetables in a bowl with the garlic, tomato juice, white vinegar, olive oil, jalapeno, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Mix well.

3. Let the soup chill in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer it sits, the more the flavors will develop and unify. Serve with Parmesan cheese, bread, and warm summer air.

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