Next week I will be in Northern Minnesota with a group of priests/bishops who have been, with some ebbing and flowing of members, gathering for some 26 years.
This year, to keep our expenses lower, I volunteered to do some of the cooking. Today and tomorrow I have a lot of prep to do.
Today I should be able to make in advance some basil pesto, with walnuts (there’s a way to do it) in addition to pine nuts, gazpacho soup from Lorraine Wallace’s Mr. Sunday’s Soups, and Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If time permits, I will also make a couple quarts of tomato sauce for pasta (readers here sent the tomatoes and the pasta via my wishlist some time ago and I am sharing them with the guys). The strozzapreti will receive the pesto, spaghetti the sugo al pomodoro. I’ll squirrel it all away in heavy duty zip bags – wondrous invention – for transport.
I will have to adjust the recipes along the way, for the number of men expected. But, by working ahead of time today, I can a) eliminate the need to bring more tools, and b) allow the flavor’s to marry together and c) save some money. The gazpacho was chosen not only because it doesn’t need to be heated, but also because of the sale on cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes I found. The boeuf was chosen a) because I know it and b) no one doesn’t like it c) and it mellows well and b) the beef was $3.95/lb. IO’ll serve it with brown rice and salad. The gazpacho will be whipped up in a flash with the seemingly industrial blender I have… I think the motor might have once been attached to the back of a boat. By the way, the last couple donations through the donation button bought some of the ingredients. Oddly, the large amount of cash people in Nigeria keep saying I have inherited hasn’t shown up yet, so your donations are welcome.
Hmmm… it just occurred … since we will have a rabbi with us for two nights, I must consider the timing of the boeuf, which has lardons.
And so, I will put on some music and hit the kitchen now.
As Capt Aubrey would say, “There’s not a moment to be lost!”
A few shots.
Prep of gazpacho.
Boil water. Ready large bowl of ice water. Slash your tomatoes on the smooth end in an X. Submerge – depending on the ripeness – from 20-30 seconds. Then remove to ice-water. Peel with ease.
Peel cucumbers. Cut in half length-wise. Use a spoon to drag out the seeds. Easy.
Anyway… I did a lot of cooking today.