Yesterday was a hectic day on par with one of Gwyneth’s “more manic days” she immortalized in a recent issue of her GOOP Newsletter, which basically consisted of bringing the kids to school, meeting her personal trainer, and doing interviews. My day consisted of going to work for 9 hours and then getting home for a session with my personal trainer. (Who also happens to be my roommate Danny B., so I’m not as fancy as Gwyneth, AS ALWAYS. But he is a certified personal trainer! And available for hire, Portland readers!) I didn’t have any interviews to do, although I did receive a bit of press, which was very exciting. But, basically it was about as busy/important a day as a wealthy movie star with no real job ever has.
So I knew I needed to make something easy and healthy, if I wanted to make sure I didn’t feel like a fat slob after my workout. Gwyneth to the rescue! I decided to make her Vegetarian Chili, because it seemed easy, relatively cheap, and offered a lot of hands-off simmering time in which I could do all my personal training. Gwyneth would be proud of my multitasking, I imagined.
A quick trip to the grocery store gave me everything I needed, since the recipe didn’t consist of any ingredients I had never heard of. Easy!
Okay, okay, okay, I need to confess something: I CHEATED. ALREADY. I’m so ashamed. The recipe specifically called for de Puy lentils, which, no joke, cost over SIX TIMES the price of the green lentils I found, and it didn’t look like I’d be able to find them that easily without some online ordering. I made a gut call and decided Gwyneth would be okay with my substitution, due to time constraints. But now I feel wracked with guilt over my inferior lentils, which little Apple and Moses would probably throw immediately in the garbage. (Apple is entirely vegetarian, a decision she came to “entirely on her own,” Gwyneth informs me in the introduction to the dish. As a result, “protein from beans and other veggie sources are a big part of her life.” So I know Apple takes this shit seriously.) Perhaps at some point in the next nine months I’ll revisit the Vegetarian Chili with the de Puy lentils (often described as the “caviar of lentils,” because of COURSE Gwyneth uses the caviar of lentils) and find out just what I missed out on.
Anyway, I tossed some carrots, red peppers, onions, garlic, and a few spices into a pot and let the vegetables soften in some olive oil. I then added a huge can of whole peeled tomatoes with their juices as well as some chipotles in adobo, and simmered it all for 40 minutes, which meant it was WORKOUT TIME. As I got my fitness on, a veritable jam band sprung up with my roommates and their friends in the living room. It was loud and chaotic and, I realized, exactly like an average day in Gwyneth’s house. Here I was, cooking dinner at the same time as my personal training, while a band practiced in the living room (Coldplay practices all the time in Gwyneth’s living room, I imagine). I truly felt like I was living the GOOP lifestyle.
Meanwhile, this happened.
After 40 minutes, I took a break from my workout and rinsed some beans and the aforementioned poor man’s lentils, and threw them into the pot along with a bit of water. This had to simmer for another 40 minutes, giving me just enough time to finish my workout.
Ultimately, the chili became a thick, creamy, smoky-smelling stew. I baked some cornbread and served the chili up with diced fresh cilantro and scallions on top, as well as mixing in some Greek yogurt to combat the heat from the chipotles. And, holy shit did it blow me away. This stuff was good. The fried rice and stir fry from the kick-off dinner didn’t even compare. The chili was hearty, spicy, smoky, and absolutely delicious. Eating this healthy, fantastic meal after a great workout, I actually started to buy into the GOOP philosophy: Gwyneth isn’t just an actress, or a “singer,” or a “cook.” Gwyneth is a lifestyle.
It’s day three of the Project, and I’m already drinking the Kool-Aid. Fear for my sanity.