Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sneak Peeks

It's difficult to think anything
but pleasant thoughts
while eating a homegrown tomato.
-Lewis Grizzard

I'm writing a foodbook. Did I tell you? I call it a foodbook (rather than a cookbook) because I refuse to just slap a recipe on a page and call it a day. I want you to see the food you're thinking of making. I want you to taste beautiful photography. I want you to smell the sweet tomatoes as they're snapped off the vine. I want you to feel the soft, creeping Thyme as we sprinkle it into bubbling spaghetti sauce. I want you to hear the little stories behind our recipes for Rosemary Cheddar Cornbread, Bourbon Pecan Pie, and Hot Buttered Rolls. I want to tell you why my Mom's Chocolate Cream Pie is known for miles. I'd love for you to know how to brew the kind of sweet iced tea that will make you the talk of every porch in town. I want to invite you into our herb-drying, sun-spilt kitchens and show you how my warm, Bible belt, European-descended, Texas family does food.

I've decided to present the stories and recipes by season as opposed to grouping them by "vegetables", "appetizers", etc. I love the idea of saying, okay, it's June. Let's stroll down to the garden or farmer's market and find perfect tomatoes and basil and make a Tomato Basil Pie. Or a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad. Or Tomato Basil Soup that's even better (and easier!) than La Madeline's....

Gosh, the fun we'd have, you and I, using the page to explore the spring potatoes, the summer garden, the fall pumpkin stands and the winter breads and soups. The fun! I can hardly wait.

In the meantime, I wish you were here to help me tackle all these plump, juicy tomatoes from the garden. And the basil that has to be snipped every day to keep it from going to seed. (Beautiful summer, how we love you!) So... what do you say we make some of that Tomato Basil Soup, eat all we can this weekend, and can the rest for winter? Good? Okay! We'll make it today and find some warm, crusty bread to serve alongside. So, here you have it. The first recipe I'll sneak you from my book:

Tomato Basil Soup
Serves 8

4 cups (8-10) tomatoes, cored, peeled and chopped
or canned whole tomatoes, crushed
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups chicken stock
12 fresh basil leaves, washed
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb. (1 stick) sweet, salted butter
1 t. salt, or more/less to taste
1/2 t. black pepper
1 1/2 T. lemon juice

1. Combine tomatoes, juice, and stock in heavy saucepan.
2. Gently simmer 25 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Using a blender or food processor, puree tomato mixture and basil leaves. Or, as I do, use a stick blender and puree mixture directly in the saucepan after carefully removing from heat.
4. Return to mixture to low heat and drip in cream.
5. Stir in butter, salt and pepper, and lemon juice. Heat through.
Taste and adjust seasonings according to preference.

Garnish with basil leaves and drips of fresh cream.
Serve warm from the pan alongside slabs of crusty bread.

Ahhhh. Yum. For pretty pictures of the soup and directions on canning it for the winter (or canning it to give as gifts) you'll have to wait for the book. Details forthcoming. But in the meantime, don't you just love summer in all its brilliance and bounty?
Enjoy it all! -Brin


Anonymous said...

Now you're talking Brin!! I love the idea of a foodbook vs. a cookbook...fascinating and so much more are the right person to tackle that! You have so many great ideas and inspirations, you've got me hooked as a daily reader of your blog. "A good thing"
Canning season..I always make extras for gifts, recipients are so appreciative. I thank you for looking forward to my comments..about that knitting..I really do know only the very basics, you'd "stand amazed" at my results(NOT)

Anonymous said...

sounds perfectly amazing my dear~can not wait!! you may turn even me into a good cook :)

Brigitta said...

now this sure is an appetizer Brin!!! definately gonna try this. just one question, is it at all possible to give metric measures as well?
hugs from Holland

Unknown said...

Oh Brin, you made my day, I"m so happy to hear your writing a book, I can't wait, does this mean we can a autographed copy? lol