Hello from beautiful Seattle! Aaron and I are here for the week as we embark on our first ever grown-up vacation alone. It’s pretty pathetic that it took us this long, since we’ve been married for 2 years now and together for almost 8. And yes, if you’re doing the mental math, that means that we did not take a honeymoon, but that’s a story for another time. My plan for this week is to walk until we’re hungry, eat until full, then repeat. Aaron’s plan is to hit up an extensive list of cocktail bars. I think we’ll more than exceed our expectations.
It feels a bit strange to be writing all this now because… I’m not in Seattle yet. I’ve decided to make this a computer-free vacation and try out this fancy, futuristic Schedule Post function that WordPress has. I’m writing this Saturday night while the laundry is working and my nails are drying, and we’re flying out early Sunday morning. By the time this goes live we’ll have been in Seattle three days. We’ll definitely have had our anniversary dinner at The Whale Wins, and I’ll have worn the intimidatingly sexy dress I bought for the occasion. Aaron’s absolutely going to have drank the carbonated negronis at Dino’s Tomato Pie. I hopefully will have kept my vow that we’ll hit up a different coffee shop every morning, and gorged myself on cherries. Aaron will likely be trying to persuade me to move to Seattle. I’m more relaxed than I’ve been all month just thinking about it all.
I plan to return here next week with plenty of pictures and a recipe or two inspired by our trip. But for now I’m here with gazpacho.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even know cold soup was a thing until I was an adult. It took working in restaurants that until I tried cold soup. Before I tried it cold soup just felt wrong, like hot ice cream. The purpose of soup was to be warming and fortifying. Why would you want it cold? Cold soup contradicted the reasons of its existence.
But experience makes fools of us all. After trying cold soup, I learned it make sense for hot summer days when you need to be fortified in a completely different way. Not only that but I actually liked the thing. Light and bright on the tongue, cold soup is centering on a steamy day. And in the spirit of these steamy August days that just won’t quit (no matter how many times I wear jeans in protest, only to surrender and change a few hours later) I offer this gazpacho recipe.
Gazpacho is easy. Chop up the vegetables, blend them up, season and add oil, and chill. It comes together in less than five minutes, which makes it excellent for those hot mornings when you know you won’t want to cook dinner. The salt and sherry vinegar are needed for those days when you’ve sweat so hard you just need some salt and acid in your food, but they’re not aggressive. You taste the tomatoes and the cucumber and the onion and pepper and garlic, and they all meld into something better than the sum of it’s parts. It’s a smooth, balanced soup that goes down easier the hotter it gets. I’d get on this now, if I were you- we may not have many scorching days left.
You could use any tomato you like for this gazpacho. I used Roma tomatoes, because they’re relatively inexpensive and still flavorful. Different tomatoes have different acidity levels, so you may need to adjust the amount of sherry vinegar you add.
Adapted from The New York Times
2 pounds Roma tomatoes, quartered and hard centers removed
1 medium cucumber, roughly chopped
1 banana pepper or other sweet frying pepper, stemed and seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 small sweet onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup good olive oil, plus more as necessary
In a blender combine the tomatoes, cucumber, banana pepper, onion, and garlic. Start the blender on low and blend until it’s all a liquid, then switch the blender onto high and blend until it’s all smooth. Add the sherry vinegar and salt, and blend again. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
With the blender on medium slowly pour in the olive oil. The gazpacho should get darker and thicker as you add the olive oil. After you add half a cup of olive oil, stop the motor of the blender and check the gazpacho. It should be slightly thick, like the consistency of a vinaigrette. If it’s not there yet, add more olive oil by the tablespoon with the motor running.
Transfer the gazpacho to a glass container. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for at least six hours, or overnight. Serve cold, preferably in a glass, drizzled with olive oil.