Here I am after a long summer bursting with trips and frivolity. Best of all, beside the distinct pleasure of being home and trying to create some semblance of order in my chaotically overgrown garden and, heck, well, life, Felix is home for a brief visit before heading back to college.
Our trip to Greece was, well, dreamy, and future postings will delve into everything Jeff and I saw, learned and ate. This time however, I thought I'd go for a gentle reentry into Clare's Kitchen with what turned out to be a lovely, gentle reentry into cooking dinner again.
Being together with Felix, comparing notes and hearing the gory details of his ten week sojourn in D.C.and our empty nest shenanigans has been interesting, at times raucous and sometimes even nerve-wracking. We all made it through in fine shape, in fact, much better than we started, and we're all energized and looking forward to whatever the autumn has in store.
I will say, that as we've been swapping tales over long stints at the dinner table, I've been grateful that some of what I've heard has been offered up over good ole' comfort food. Not that it's been bad--it hasn't--but there's something about looking at your kid and realizing there's not too much little boy left and that a grown man has sprung up in his place.
Fortunately, it's a grown man who is endlessly interesting, funny and sweet. Furthermore, he can spin a tale that has you alternately hanging onto the edge of your seat, and then falling off it with unbridled laughter. When faced with a dinner like that, it's good to have a great bowl of soup and a grilled pimento cheese sandwich at hand to ground you, or at least to make it worth your while to pick yourself up off the floor.
Roasted Corn and Tomato Bisque
3 ripe but firm tomatoes
kernels from 5 ears of corn
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
about 4 cups of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup heavy cream
sliced avocado and smoked paprika for garnish
Preheat oven to 375
Put tomatoes in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Place in oven roast until the skins crack and the tomatoes are softened, about 30 minutes. At the same time, put the corn on a baking sheet and roast in the same oven until the edges begin to turn brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove both pans and allow to cool. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel of f the skins and discard, saving the flesh and any juices that have collected in the baking dish.
Place the peppers on the grates of your stove (you'll have to have a gas stove to do this, otherwise it can be accomplished under the broiler) and turn to medium high. Allow the peppers skins to get blackened all over and then put them in a paper bag and seal it tightly. Let it stand for about 10 minutes at which point the charred skins of the peppers should slip right off. Remove their core and seeds and discard.
In a soup pot, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, both onions, garlic and the corn, reserving a handful of the roasted corn for a garnish. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and salt and, using your trusty immersion blender (or a blender, but be very careful not to overfill it because hot soup in a blender can REALLY burn you!), blend to a chunky consistency. Add cream and mix well. Garnish each portion with some of the reserved corn, a slice of avocado and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Serve hot.
--adapted from This is a cookbook, by Max Sussman and Eli Sussman