When your mom yells at you via a blog comment to cook more, you know you’re doing something wrong. Added to that is the fact that summer has suddenly come to an end, and the realization that I neglected to make gazpacho all season. Plus, I had a party to go to this weekend. So, for all these reasons: Gazpacho was made on Saturday night.
Good friend Hannah was having the hipster party to end all hipster parties, a moustache/spandex onesie-themed event (and no, I wore neither, because I am TOO COOL), and somehow I decided gazpacho would be the perfect thing to bring to a drunken house party? I don’t know. The idea made me laugh, at least. Also making me laugh? The picture accompanying the gazpacho recipe:
Along with gazpacho comes my favorite part of the Danny/Gwyneth Project: A bonus second recipe! Synergy at its finest. One of the ingredients required to make gazpacho is Roasted Bell Peppers, one of Gwyneth’s “special ingredient” recipes from the beginning of the book. This, of course, is great news for all of us, as accidentally knocking out multiple recipes in one go is the Danny/Gwyneth Project equivalent of protecting your daughter from cervical cancer and giving her “mental retardation” at the same time. Does this metaphor even make sense? The point is, it’s a miracle Michele Bachmann hasn’t been put in a straightjacket yet.
Anyway, I began my Saturday night adventure by roasting two red bell peppers. Gwyneth tells me to roast them over an open gas flame on high heat, rotating with tongs until completely blackened all over, which usually takes 15-20 minutes. This filled me with a sense of dread, at the idea of standing over an open flame and roasting red peppers for 20 minutes. How boring. Of course, this is before I, in my infinite wisdom, realized most (or, you know, all) stoves come with these handy burner grates on top of the flames! So, after a minute or so of standing over the stove, a set of tongs in each hand, slowly rotating two red peppers over open flames like the world’s worst s’more maker, I realized I could just set the peppers on the actual burners. After this miraculous revelation, all I had to do was drink wine in the kitchen, while idly rotating the peppers every couple minutes.
Once I figured out the secret (which is probably less of a secret to people with more common sense than I), the whole process became fairly entertaining. It was like having a campfire in my kitchen! After a while, the peppers were blackened completely, and the kitchen smelled pretty damn fantastic. Next, I was instructed to put the peppers in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, leaving them to sit in their own little steam container until they were cool to touch. Roughly twenty minutes later, I easily peeled the charred skin off and sliced the peppers up. Easy and fun! Plus, thanks to the copious amounts of sitting-around time involved with this recipe, I was already slightly drunk. We were off to a GREAT start. (And I only ended up cutting my finger once, which is a pretty high success rate for drunk cooking.)
I then set about boiling two large pots of water, to help me peel my tomatoes. If you’re not familiar with this method (which, for the record, I already was — look at me, all kitchen-savvy!), it’s pretty easy: Boil water. Score the bottoms of your tomatoes. Drop tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from water, drop into an ice bath. The skin will slip right off. Now, I only had four ice cubes in the freezer, so my ice bath was more of a tepid water bath. But it worked just as well. I made sure to refill the ice cube tray because, duh, gin and tonics.
Tomatoes boiling are BEAUTIFUL.
From here, the recipe gets pretty simple, or at least on paper it looks simple. Mix together the peeled and cored tomatoes, the roasted peppers, a red onion, a diced English cucumber, some garlic, salt, pepper, day-old bread cubes, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Puree them in a blender, until you’ve reached the consistency you prefer. Aaaaand this is where things came to a screeching halt. You see, I don’t have a blender. I only have a Magic Bullet.
So things became an absolute tedious mess, as I had to blend ingredients together in the Magic Bullet, which only fit one tomato at a time. I would drop a tomato into the Bullet, as well as a few pieces of the other vegetables, blend it up, and pour it into the bowl, oh-so-gradually transforming the bowl from a vegetable salad into something more resembling soup. It was horrible and messy and I do not suggest trying to make gazpacho with a Magic Bullet. Anyway, I prefer my gazpacho to be pretty chunky, so I only blended about half of the tomatoes, dicing the rest by hand. After about half an hour of ridiculous work that would have taken 10 seconds if I had just invested in a frickin’ blender, I had gazpacho.
It actually looks like a pretty tasty salad.
About halfway through the process. Note the still-whole tomato, awaiting its turn in the Magic Bullet.
My trusty steed.
But people seemed to love it! Of course, everyone was drunk and all the people who didn’t know me were wondering who the guy was who kept saying, “Eat the gazpacho! It’s from Gwyneth Paltrow!” but overall I’d say it was a hit. I actually didn’t even try some until I was several drinking games into the party, so I can’t say I remember what it tasted like, although I knew I was very pleasantly surprised. (And I tried some the next morning and was even more surprised. It’s good! But I like my gazpacho spicy, so hot sauce is necessary.) Here’s hoping the cab driver whose backseat is now covered in spilled gazpacho enjoys it as well!
And, if you’ve never been to Portland and are wondering if it’s everything it is stereotyped to be, let the following pictures prove as evidence that yes, “Portlandia” is pretty damn accurate:
Hannah, sporting her spandex onesie, models the gazpacho.
Hannah — now sporting a slightly see-through yet tasteful clown suit — enjoys more gazpacho.