Thursday, June 24, 2010


My mom called me a couple weeks ago and asked if I had a recipe for gazpacho, and I did not! Truth be told, I didn't even know what gazpacho was (but I didn't tell my mom that). I promised to find and send her a recipe. First, I turned to my homegirl Ina, and her recipe looked fantastic. And to give my mom some more options, I also sent along PW's recipe.

And then, all I could think of was gazpacho, which, it turns out, is a cold, tomato-based soup. (But I'm sure everyone else in the world already knew that.) I decided to make it the night Matt and Elisa arrived.
This is the perfect summer meal because it's light but totally satisfying, and (here's the kicker) you don't have to cook anything. It's been like a billion degrees here lately, so when you turn on the stove or the oven, a little part of your soul dies.
So, the thing about gazpacho is that it's made up of tons of finely diced veggies, and if you're not really into chopping veggies, maybe you should use a food processor. I was seriously thinking about this until I realized three things: 1) I was going to make it during Bria's nap. 2) I like chopping vegetables. 3) I don't have a big enough food processor.
So I hand-chopped everything, and it was so delightful to just stand up to my counter and chop, chop, chop while Bria napped the afternoon away. Then, you just combine everything in a big beautiful bowl, and you're done. Seriously. Chop, chop, chop, combine, done.
I served it up with some Trader Joe's cornbread, which resulted in a small part of my soul dying while it baked, but it was soooo worth it. That stuff is good. As was the gazpacho. It tasted exactly how the last days of spring should taste-- vibrant, alive, and fresh. We all gobbled it down, including Bria. She ate two bowls of her own, then she climbed up onto Elisa's lap and demanded Elisa's bowl. And also? I'm going to stop pretending I have any idea whatsoever of how to take pictures of my food. But here's what it all looked like:

And now for the recipe:

(adapted from Ina Garten and Pioneer Woman)

1 hothouse cucumber, not peeled, seeds removed
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
4-5 roma tomatoes, seeds removed
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves
1 zucchini
1 stalk celery
32 ounces tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
dash kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Finely dice all vegetables and toss them into a bowl with remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly and refrigerate until cold. Serve chilled with avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and a splash of lime.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gtown Cupcake twice and thrice

We went to Georgetown Cupcake again. And again.

First Sam, Bria, and I went a couple weeks ago on a dull Wednesday afternoon. The traffic was awful, and Bria was whining and complaining because she wanted ice cream, not cupcakes-- until she got her chocolate squared.
Then, in her words: "I'm happy now!"
And then Elisa and Matt came for the weekend, so we had to take them, of course. And it was soooo good. I had my own strawberry cupcake (which I thought was ok, but Sam almost died he thought it was so delicious), and I ate half of Bria's vanilla squared AND half of Whitney's vanilla birthday cupcake. Those vanillas are where it's at, my friends. Why do people ever use vanilla to describe something as plain? Seriously, so wrong.

Just you wait, because there's so much more to tell from Matt and Elisa's visit. I think all we did was eat. I did end up super sick one night from all our indulgent meals, but it was soooo worth it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Closet Pioneer

On Friday Whitney and I went and picked strawberries at this fantastic farm in Maryland. I swear, there is something about being in the fresh clean air, with acres of green in every direction that just makes the world seem right. I have this secret fantasy of living on a farm and living off the fat o' the land (which is why I loved this book). But the not-so-secret is that I hate bugs more than anything in this world. And I hate yard work. So, unless I could just sit on a bug-free porch year round and enjoy the fruits of other people's farm labors . . . I'm not so sure it's a plausible fantasy.
So, it was, like, the very last day of strawberry season, and the berries were tiny and mostly smooshy and gross, so the picking was slow and nearly fruitless (ha!), but I came home with 4 pounds of strawbs, nonetheless.
Then I found out that Whitney doesn't even like strawberries (or cherries!), and I felt bad for dragging her along, because it was so hot and bright and over an hour away. But she didn't seem to mind. And when I got home and went through the berries, I found that most weren't as good as I had thought. I think I had to toss out about half our loot. With the remaining berries, Sam and I made some fantastic milk shakes, and tonight I relived this post and made some jam, which I feel really happy about. Last year, after making jam, I lamented that I wouldn't be able to keep any of the jam I made because of our imminent move. Three cheers for not having to move this year, because I might just keep all this jam to myself (just to make up for last year).

Friday, June 4, 2010

I haven't been a stellar blogger lately. I wish I could say it's because I've been doing lots of cool, adventurous things and eating great food, but we're just dealing with a case of the terrible twos over here. Also, the humid heat of Virginia might be getting best of me. (and it's not even officially summer yet!)

If you don't hear from me again soon, send in replacements. and some ice cream.