One hurdle we encountered though during planning was that the hotel had a strict policy that only they could cater events held on their grounds so we had to let them do the food. What a bummer! Most of it was what you'd expect from a hotel's catering department except two courses which really stood out to me: our passion-guava wedding cake and the pineapple gazpacho (neither of which I think they offer anymore). Now, normally I'm not a fan of gazpacho (mostly because I detest tomatoes) but this chilled soup was so refreshing- an exquisitely balanced medley of sweet and tart with just a slight hint of spiciness...and no tomatoes! It was the perfect opening dish for an island wedding. I loved it! It was fun, it was light, it was tasty! Every summer since, I've always meant to try and replicate that soup but never got around to it. Finally during our recent mini heat wave, I decided to try and recreate it. I made several different recipes I found online and in various cookbooks and then took the ingredients and tastes I liked best to create my own version.
If you're sick of salads, this soup is a nice alternative during the dog days of summer; not to mention, that pineapple has a lot of anti-inflammatory qualities. Gazpacho is a great dish to whip up for parties, you could serve it in shot glasses for cocktail hour or if you want to fancy it up for a sit-down dinner, place it in chilled martini glasses. The best thing though is--it's simple to make and there's no hot stove or oven required.
Refreshing Pineapple Gazpacho
1 pound of pineapple, cut into chunks
1/2 of a large English cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
1/3 cup diced red onion
1-2 scallions (mostly white), thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 1/2 cups of DOLE pineapple-orange juice
3 tablespoons Italian dressing
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
sea salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Cover, blend until relatively smooth.
2. If you would like the soup to have a smoother texture/be thinner, you can put the soup through a chinois or sieve. If you would like it to be thicker, take a slice of crusty peasant bread, soak it in water, squeeze the water out, add it to the gazpacho and blend again.
3. Taste. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
4. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours so that the flavors have a chance to meld. Serve chilled.
5. Garnish with diced cucumber and bell pepper...or for some crunch, sprinkle with chopped macadamia nuts and some cilantro.