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Strawberry Gazpacho

1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 3/4 cup whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 springs of thyme
6 cups strawberries, tops cut off and quartered
2 1/2 cups english cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 1/4 cups diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
6 Tbsp. tomato juice
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Texas Pete hot sauce

Heat saute pan and coat bottom with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and add 1 clove garlic. When garlic begins to sizzle, add bread. Once bread begins to brown, add thyme and continue to cook until bread is toasted. Transfer bread to bowl and discard garlic and thyme. Add strawberries, cucumber, bell pepper, remaining garlic clove, 1/2 cup olive oil, tomato juice, vinegar and salt to bowl. Toss to combine and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Marinate at room temperature for 3 hours. Puree ingredients and their juices in batches in blender until smooth. Strain through chinois and chill until cold. Taste and season with Texas Pete hot sauce and additional salt and red wine vinegar. Serve chilled with purple basil leaves and olive oil. Serves 4-6

Recipe courtesy of Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We tasted this delicious summer soup in May and appreciate Mozelle’s sharing the recipe. Their legendary Tomato Pie remains secret, but is worth a trip for.

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