15 September 2006

Bisque and Bruschetta

I’m excited. In my last entry, I mentioned that blogging has my writing juices flowing, and that I’ve just finished writing a book I’ve meant to write for 8 years now. I’m excited to have the draft done and in the hands of my readers. I’m also excited about the material; there’s some amazingly lovely writing there-in.

The book, for which I am still trying to find a title, is a compilation of my journal entries and e-mailed travelogues from a life-changing road trip that I took in 1998. One reader says it is a book "for everyone who’s had the courage to step into uncertainty, looking for where they fit best in this world." She thinks my journey can serve as inspiration to others who are searching, letting them know that stepping off the cliff (like the Fool from the Tarot – smile on his face, hobo bag over his shoulder, trusting) can result in safe landing.

Besides exciting me, the book reminded me of a soup I used to make, but haven’t for a long while. It’s my variation on a soup from Fields of Greens cookbook (the one cookbook I took with me on my trip). Fixed it for myself this week, and decided it was definitely yummy enough to be worth sharing with you. For fun, and because it’s what I ate with the soup for dinner that night, I’ve included a recipe for my interpretation of bruschetta.


Corn, Pepper, and Basil Bisque

In a 2-quart pot:
Sautee one sliced leek in olive oil until translucent.

Add in and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat:
Kernels shaved from 5 ears of corn
One red bell pepper, diced.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour in 1/4 cup cooking sherry and enough water to just cover the vegetables.

Bring to a boil, cover, then turn down to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Remove from heat, and set aside about 1/2 cup of the cooked vegetables (but no broth).

Puree the remaining vegetables and broth in a blender. Pour back into pot and add:
1/2 cup of cream
the vegetables you had set aside
1/4 cup (or so) of freshly chopped basil.

Taste, adjust flavors as desired, then serve.

Claire’s Bruschetta

Prepare the topping by chopping the daylights out of the following ingredients and then combining them in a bowl with salt, pepper, and olive oil. (Start with 1/4 cup of oil, then add more if you so desire.)

Topping Ingredients:
One small onion, preferably sweet – Walla Wallas are good
LOTS of garlic – 6 to 8 decent-sized cloves
One tomato (diced, don’t chop this one as finely as the other ingredients)
Basil – somewhere between 1/2 cup and 1 cup’s worth of leaves

Slice a sourdough baguette (seeded is tasty, if it’s available) in half, lengthwise. Place the slices, crust-side down, on a cookie sheet. Generously spoon the topping onto the two halves of baguette. On top of this, place grated cheese – my favorites are fontina or parrano (spelling?) – as thickly or thinly as you like.

Put the whole shebang in a pre-heated 350-degree oven and bake until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Devour (but not too quickly – food doesn’t taste as good when you’ve burnt your tongue!)

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