The End of the Project (In Portland)

Well, the time has come for me to leave. I’m just taking a brief break from loading my U-Haul to write about the last Gwyneth recipe I ever cooked in Portland. I have a ton to do before I leave tomorrow, so let’s make this quick! But you know what’s not quick? Tortilla Soup. (Nailed that segue.)

In true Gwyneth fashion, she begins by bragging about being nineteen and in a movie filming in Austin. Just like normal people! Anyway, that’s where this recipe came from. I decided to make it because I had a quart of homemade vegetable stock in the freezer (as do we all, I’m sure) that I wanted to use before the move. So, this! Also, Gwyneth tells me that TOTAL preparation time is “1 hour plus 10 minutes.” Shortly, we will see how that is nothing but a big, fat lie.

I started by heating the vegetable stock over a low flame with cilantro stems, a dried whole red chile, and two cloves of crushed garlic. Meanwhile, I toasted another dried red chile, which immediately burst into flames and was charred black in two seconds, seeing as it was dried. So I don’t really know what the point of that was, but whatever.

Stock. Looks a little like swamp water.

In a skillet, I sauteed onions, garlic, and the roasted (and now burnt) red chile. I then added a can of tomatoes, and let the mixture simmer for 40 minutes, or just the exact amount of time to watch last week’s episode of the Real World (and I’m sure you don’t watch it, but let me tell you: the people this season are TERRIBLE HUMAN BEINGS. Moreso than they normally are!). Once the liquid had almost all simmered out, I pureed the mixture in the Magic Bullet (which took a while — a blender may be a worthwhile investment soon). I then poured the pureed tomato mixture into the vegetable stock, which looked rather like vomiting into muddy water. REALLY unappetizing.

I was then instructed to simmer for “at least” an hour. Huh? Like I said earlier, this recipe says “Total Preparation Time: 1 hour plus 10 minutes.” And yet I was instructed to cook the tomatoes for 40 minutes, and then simmer the soup for at least an hour! Not counting time for chopping or anything else, we’re already half an hour over how long she told me this would take. So now I’m just pissed off, hungry, and wasting my time.

Anyway, finally the soup was done, and I fried up tortilla strips to get them crispy, which was kind of fun. To finish the soup, I chopped up some cilantro, avocado, and scallions and put them in the bottom of a bowl. I then poured the soup over the top, and tossed a few strips of fried tortilla in. And that’s Tortilla Soup!

And you know what? It was actually great. I loved it. It needed a little more salt, but once the salt was added the whole dish really came together and was more or less perfect. If only she hadn’t lied to me, I would have been ecstatic with this dish.

And that, my friends, is the final Danny/Gwyneth recipe from Portland. Next stop: New York! (Actually, first stop is Wisconsin. And actually before that, somewhere in Wyoming probably.) Now I must return to packing my U-Haul and having far too many goodbyes. So long, Portland.

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6 Comments

Filed under Soups

6 responses to “The End of the Project (In Portland)

  1. Clair

    Via con Dios.

  2. Victories

    Safe Trip

  3. Anna

    Ah, you’ve totally inspired me to buy the cookbook now….and happy packing!

  4. Ceri from the place you used to work

    Bye Danny, portland will miss you. I have been wondering, is it essential to have a gas stove for these receipes? I mean your always charing and blacking stuff… I mean what do people with out gas stoves do? (I know gas is better but some times you buy a house with out gas lines piped in, and will never PAY THOUSANDS of dollars to pipe in gass) Should one invest in a blow torch?

  5. Avonasea

    Grew accustomed to nice, humorous Portland Danny. Hope Big Apple Danny won’t be any different. Wouldn’t mind if you shared your culinary adventures along the way to NYC. I do wonder what’s good in, say, Wyoming…
    Safe trip!

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