Sandwiches

Cannellini Bean and Tomato Soup

Most of you are aware of the nasty glioblastoma business that Roger’s been courageously battling. He had been 18 months cancer free (well, as cancer free as one can be with GBM), and a little over a week ago a suspicious area was noted on his routine MRI. Grrr. Let me tell you people that there’s nothing scarier than receiving a phone call from one’s neuro-oncologist with a message to come into the office as soon as possible. First, you pick your stomach up off the floor, and then you get into the car and drive soundlessly to said clinic.

Surgery is over, and my Superman is home. We’re waiting patiently for the full pathology report, and we remain hopeful. Because I find expressing love with my Shun chef’s knife the fastest way possible, I decided to cook up some comfort food for his first meal home after surgery: tomato soup and grilled cheese. We’ll go back to eating oodles of kale and beaucoup veggies soon enough. Now was the time to deliver joy through food.

This soup recipe will serve 6

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Soup

1-28 oz. can of whole tomatoes (San Marzano are preferred)

32 oz. chicken stock

1-15 oz. can of cannellini beans

1 onion, diced small

¾ oz. whipping cream

2 tbsp. EVOO

3 garlic cloves

1 Parmesan rind

A pinch of saffron

¼ tsp. chili pepper flakes

½ tsp. kosher salt

Ground pepper

basil for garnish

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In a 5-qt. pan, sauté the onion in EVOO until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chili flakes, and saffron threads to the onion and heat until fragrant (you don’t want to burn the garlic).

Squish the tomatoes with your hands until they’re fully broken down.

Add the tomatoes and stock to the onion mixture.

Pop in the Parmesan rind and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

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Add the cannellini beans, salt, pepper, and whipping cream. Stir well and taste. Add more seasoning if you like.

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Cheese Panini

Grate some Gruyere cheese (amount is personal preference)

I used a seeded bread (sliced it at home) from Whole Foods

Toast the sandwich in a panini press (my method of choice), or on a frying pan with a weight on top of the sandwich

Toast the sandwich until the bread is crunchy and the cheese is fully melted (grating helps it melt faster)

Eat well!

April

“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.” – John Diamon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmer’s Market Booty

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The waterfowl of Farm Pond had been our alarm clock for over two weeks. We’d been renting a home, built in 1900, with an unobstructed view of Farm Pond and the Nantucket Sound beyond. Early mornings had found us on the wraparound front porch, steaming cup of coffee in hand, dogs snoozing by our side, while we sit quietly and watch the pond’s feathered friends perform for us. It’s how we’d like to begin everyday of our lives, but alas, we had to leave Martha’s Vineyard. 
My goal this trip had been to hit as many of the island farms as possible, and I’m happy to report that I made a sizable dent. The only down side to having so many beautiful/quaint farms at your disposal is that one (being me) tends to over buy. Every piece of produce looks so gorgeous that I have a hard time walking away. A few days ago I picked up way too many ears of fresh corn (they were just picked, so who could blame me?) and I spent days trying to use up all those beautiful kernels. I’d put them in salads, on crostinis, in salsas, inside of omelets, you name it, and I’d put corn in or on it.
Every islander knows about the fantastic West Tisbury Farmer’s Market held in The Grange Hall, on State Rd, every Wednesday and Saturday from June until October (Wednesdays are from June until late August). I’d made several trips during our two weeks and loaded up on a menagerie of artisanal items. You can find blended teas, products made with lavender, soaps, salves, sea salt, herbs, orchids, pies, locally farmed meat, eggs, island made cheeses, and the list goes on and on. Who knew there were so many talented individuals living on one small island?
It being summer on the Vineyard, we had a house full of people the entire time we were on the island, so spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen. I love to feed people, so I’m not complaining, but the name of the game those days was fast and fresh.
After perusing the market last Saturday, I came home with some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, just picked peaches, fromage frais (a soft creamy cheese, and my latest obsession), freshly laid eggs, basil, bread, sweet Italian sausage, herbs, and some lunch ideas to feed a hungry crowd.
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If you’re looking for a fast, nutritious, juicy, wake up your mouth kind of thing, this crostini is right up your alley. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare 10 to 12 crostinis –
1 loaf of fresh bread
1 large heirloom tomato
2 ripe peaches
1 jar of fromage frais (subsitite with fromage blanc or softened goat cheese)
Sea salt
Fresh basil to garnish
Slice your bread thick enough (how much bread depends on how many hungry mouths you’ll be feeding) that it can hold a spoonful of delicious topping without giving way. Lightly toast and let cool.
Dice your heirloom tomato and peaches and place in a bowl. If you have any leftover deliciousness (doubtful) when you’re done feeding your peeps, pop it into the fridge for those late night feeding frenzies. Or you could use it later as a salad. Add a little burrata or goat cheese? Maybe some greens?
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Spread fromage frais on the toasted bread, then spoon a bit of the tomato and peach mixture on top, sprinkle on some sea salt, and garnish with a chiffonade (fancy word for julienne) of fresh basil. So easy and tasty.
Alongside the crostinis I served a frittata and some sweet Italian sausage patties. Here’s the recipe for the frittata –
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
10 farm fresh eggs
2 baby leeks (white and light green parts only), washed and minced
Fresh goat cheese
2 small waxy potatoes (I used red), diced very small
1 ½ tsp. fresh minced oregano
1 ½ tsp. sea salt (sprinkle on some finishing salt at the end of cooking)
1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Pour EVOO into a large non-stick skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes and ½ tsp. of salt. Sauté on medium heat until almost cooked through. Add the baby leeks and cook until soft and fragrant.
Whisk your eggs vigorously in a large bowl until they’re almost frothy. Add the minced oregano and 1 tsp. of salt. Slowly pour the eggs into the skillet with the potatoes and leeks. Dot the top with some goat cheese (the amount is up to you). Cook on medium heat until you see the edges begin to set. Pop the pan into the oven until the frittata is fully set through to the middle. If you’re unsure if it’s done, push lightly on the middle of the frittata. It should be soft, but not liquid-y.
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Every ingredient in the photo above came from the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market. How cool is that?
We are also blessed with a fabulous Farmer’s Market in Laguna Beach and every Saturday as I stroll through the isles, I thank my lucky stars!
Eat well,
April

“We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough.” – Wendell Berry

Egg Tartine

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A lonely radish was rolling around in our crisper drawer just begging to be devoured, so we complied. Because it was lunchtime a traditional salad would have been the easiest thing to do, but then I spied the eggs and decided upon an egg tartine (French for open-faced sandwich) with a simple salad on top. After rummaging around the fridge for a few other items I got to work. Here’s what you’ll need to make a delicious lunch for two –

1 small container of part-skim ricotta

1 radish bulb

A French baguette cut into two pieces wide enough to hold one egg each

2 eggs

A handful of baby spinach

Juice from ½ lemon

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. EVOO

1 heirloom tomato

Hot sauce (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

You should toast the baguette in an oven, toaster oven, or a Panini Press. I chose the latter.

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Slice the radish into coins. Stack the coins and cut into matchsticks.

Remove the stems from your spinach leaves. Stack the leaves in batches and julienne.

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Add the radishes and spinach to a bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and 1 tsp. of EVOO. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Slice your heirloom tomato into 2 – ½” slices.

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Pour the 1 tbsp. of EVOO into a non-stick pan and put your heat on med-high. Once the EVOO begins to shimmer, crack your eggs and carefully pour (don’t want to break the yokes!) directly over the hot EVOO. You’ll get quite a bit of splattering during this cooking process but as you can see by the photo, the egg puffs up and becomes gorgeous. Sprinkle some course sea salt and pepper over your eggs. Remove the eggs from the pan once the white around the yolk has completely set.

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Spread some ricotta (how much is up to you) on a baguette and begin to layer the tartine.After the ricotta comes the tomato, the egg, a smattering of hot sauce (my favorite is smokey Serrano by Boulder Hot Sauce seen in the photo above), and then finally the salad. Yummalicious!

Eat well,

April

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.” – Franz Kafka