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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
A word from Franklin:
Things you should cook:
As seasonal decadences go, Cherry Pies are nearly unrivaled - but so many other fruit fillings would also work in this framework recipe from The Kitchn.
And speaking of summer pies: FROZEN MARGARITA PIE. Looks like there’s just enough tequila in there to keep things interesting, but not so much that you couldn’t give a slice to children. (You can use rum or other flavorful spirit instead, but don’t leave it out completely if you can help it; it keeps the filling from setting up too much and getting a little too firm.)
I’m not usually a huge fan of these Insta-ready cooking videos, but this Banana Bread on a Stick is basically a dessert corn dog but with banana and if you read that and were enticed and excited instead of grossed out then I think we’re gonna get along just fine.
Dairy-free horchata, poured over ice, is one of the most refreshing things you can drink in the summer. Get your blender out and make BIG BATCHES.
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.
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 email@example.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