Gazpacho is tomato soup, served cold that hails from the Andalusia region of Spain. The thought of eating ice cold tomato soup at first may appear strange, especially for those from the United States that grew up with grilled cheese sandwiches and hot tomato soup as the cure for the winter chills. However, this dish is both traditional, and delicious.
The classic version of the dish features tomatoes, bell peppers, olive oil, garlic, salt and vinegar. This version adds ginger and more vegetables, making it perfect for summer when the days are hot and the produce are in season.
So my friend @Nightblooms and I got on the subject of tofu one fine night on Twitter when she told me about this amazing tofu/tomato sauce she made for her family.
Never one to pass down the opportunity to let others do my work for me, I begged her to do a guest post on BlogWellDone.com. She graciously accepted with the vaguest promise of a post from me in the near future (more on that later.) But without further ado…
Creamy Tofu-Enhanced Tomato Sauce
Contributed by Marie Oliver
Food as medicine is a practice that is easily taken for granted growing up with restaurateur parents. Living away from home for the first time as a young adult was when the ingrained habit revealed itself. I found myself grocery shopping for sometimes obscure foods and spices that supposedly improved health when consumed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in foods.
There is nothing obscure about the tomato, but did you know it was once considered poisonous? The tomato is among a wide range of plants that are a part of the deadly nightshade family, avoided due to their toxicity. Eggplant, peppers and potatoes are among the nightshade plants we relish as dietary staples.
The health benefits of tomatoes are numerous, whether eaten raw or cooked. There was a fascinating study initiated by a couple of Harvard scientists over 20 years ago that examined the effects of tomato products on prostate cancer in about 48,000 participants. Data was gathered and reviewed over a 12 year timeframe. Although they claimed the study to be inconclusive, in the same breath it was asserted that there was a definitive reduction in the risk of prostate cancer in men who consumed tomatoes – about 45%.
The red pigment found in tomatoes is lycopene, an antioxidant or cell damage neutralizer. Lycopene has also been said to inhibit growth of breast, lung and endometrial cancer cells. However, for some who are allergic, tomatoes may be a health hazard. If you suffer from hives, headaches or asthma symptoms after consuming tomato products, then step away from the fruit. Tomatoes also contain the chemical salicylate, which is an active ingredient in aspirin. So, if you have an aspirin allergy, talk with your physician about whether you should avoid food salicylates as well.