Gazpacho, tomato dreams and Sneaky Petes

Plus: Fruit pies, the really good spatula you probably have already, and horchata

I’ve been making some variant of this gazpacho every summer for a few years now (with some grapes or melon or kiwifruit added). There are lots of things to love about it - the sweet tang of the sherry vinegar, the almost-too sharp zing of the raw garlic and onion, the creamy-without-cream texture imparted by the bread (and assiduous use of a fine mesh strainer) – but really, it’s the tomatoes. Sometimes I’ll toss in a few ripe Romas to bulk it out, but mostly it’s made up of the squishiest, ripest, porniest, most luridly luscious heirloom tomatoes I can get my hands on.

And with a little care and patience – I’m rewarded with something like this.

Gazpacho with black garlic crouton. When the tomatoes are good, I'll take a cup of this over eggs and bacon.
July 3, 2016

They’re certainly not the cheapest at your local store or farmer’s market, or the most widely available (especially in the Midwest where I’m at.) But holy forking shirtballs, at the peak of the season, they’re worth it. And though the embarrassment of tomato riches my friends in warmer climes enjoy* infuriates me - no matter where you live in America, you should do right by yourself and the relative bounty of those lopsided technicolor globes and get your hands on as many as possible.

And as your appetite and willingness to pay for flavor increases, so does the pressure on growers, grocers and scientists who have realized that decades of promoting and producing a pleasingly pale, red, round, watery, flavorless (but sturdy and easy to ship) tomato have resulted in a large segment of the population that would never willingly consume a basic-ass grocery store tomato unless someone’s life depended on it, and it would have to be someone they really liked. Someday, we’ll get a supermarket tomato worth our time and money. Someday.

Anyhoo. Go get some tomatoes. Make a caprese salad. Or a panzanella variant. Con your neighbor out of some of their garden bounty and can some sauce. Just don’t let August go by without treating yourself to the tastiest of the summer harvest.

(Also: Please email any summer tomato recipes you’d like to send along to me at the83k@gmail.com. I’ll share some tasty ones in a future post. Thank you!)


I asked my friend Rachel about story ideas for this new enterprise. We had this exchange:

Rachel never met a diem she didn’t wanna carpe, so I assume this is a delicious party/porch beverage and equal parts gross and amazing (just like Rachel) but, for the record, when Googling “Sneaky Pete recipes” you get served what looks like slushy sugar bombs which I’m sure taste amazing but, like the drink’s namesake, will find you in a dark alley and beat the shit out of you. Or, at least, that’s what I assume it’ll feel like in the morning.

So maybe try both and report back? Me, I’m gonna stick to wine and Aperol spritzes and the occasional Negroni Slushy from Parson’s.


A word from Franklin:

Things you should cook:

Links:

Scientists figured out how to get yeast out of the pores of ancient Egyptian pottery and now someone brave and brilliant is making bread with those little ancient creatures. (Best comment from the thread: “Rise of the Yummy.”) [Thanks, Erika!]

Some of the best investments you can make in the kitchen are the small ones and, if treated with care, will last for many many years. The Victorinox Chef's Slotted Fish Turner is worth many times its $20 price.

One of the best food documentary series I’ve ever seen is all about tacos and treats its subject matter and masters of the form with the reverence they deserve (all while making you ravenous.)

A list of some fun summer food reads from Modern Farmer.

GOSHDARNIT WHEN WILL NETFLIX OR AMAZON OR WHATEVER THAT NEW DISNEY/HULU THING IS START STREAMING “TAMPOPO??”

Videos:

Guess who’s gonna make himself a birthday cake on Sunday?? Guess what series of videos he’s gonna be binging beforehand?

The trailer for the new season of GBBO/GBBS is kinda perfect.

That’s it for this edition of The83K newsletter. If you have any tips or suggestions for things you’d like to see here, please drop me a line at the83k@gmail.com.

*WHAT SORT OF MONSTER would send a tomato-craving person pictures of Southern Californian farmers’ stands still stacked high with a dozen varieties of positively pornographic tomatoes in MID-AUTUMN? JERKMONSTERS, that’s who. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, YOU BUTTHOLES