First, the story and I don’t know where it starts! I’m a sucker for silent auctions. In our long-ago Oklahoma days, these were de rigueur at Native American events, great for fund raising. I have signed children’s books, Seminole patchwork, Osage braidwork, and surely some art treasures.
For a number of years, I volunteered at the annual local Taste of the Nation events. At the gala, I often worked at the silent auction station. One year, a set of really pretty dishes – Pistoulet by Pfaltzgraff – were on the table. No one placed a bid. The next year, there they were again. Yes, I took home service for four. This story continues and we now have service for eight and more. These beautiful dishes are visible in many of the photos in this blog.
In meantime, at some bookstore I ran into a small cookbook – The Secrets of the Pistoulet, by Jan Kolpen. There were my dishes on the richly illustrated pages of the book in between a bewitching story and lots of delightful recipes! One of the recipes I pull out every year at this season is fig soup.
Fig soup, a delightful cold soup for a hot summer day and a great way to justify bringing home two boxes of “buy one, get one free” figs in season right now and it’s so easy to prepare. Use both boxes of figs, gently chopped (of course sample a few as you are chopping).
Bring the figs and about four cups of cold water to a boil, then cover and simmer til the fruit is soft. When it is cool, bring out the immersion blender to puree the mixture til smooth. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or crème fraiche or just enjoy the fruity, sweetie, smoothness of this very special fruit soup (for equally delicious strawberry soup see 9-7-20 post).
Flatbread, the second “F” this week, a recent addition to our dining repertoire. This is really not cooking, but assembling ingredients to go into the oven. This week’s flatbread was another “cooking from the fridge” session, making use of ingredients that are waiting their turn: a box of grape/cherry tomatoes, two leeks, one zucchini, a roll of mozzarella, and a box of mushrooms. Two lone chicken breasts were fished out of the back of the freezer.
Roast the tomatoes, tossed in olive oil and a few cranks thyme/salt, in a 375 F oven for about one hour (gently stir about halfway through). Cut leeks* thinly and gently sauté with zatar and salt.
Thinly slice the zucchini* and sauté in a bit of olive oil til softened and browned, stir occasionally. Thinly slice the mushrooms and saute quickly in olive oil.* Poach the chicken in a broth of white wine, water, a bay leaves and lemon slices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, cool.
*Don’t forget to save your vegetable trimmings in the freezer for the next time you need a broth; this one will be good with leeks, zucchini, and mushrooms.
Assembly time. I used a premade flatbread, also found waiting in the freezer. Brush the flatbread with olive oil. Put down a layer of mozzarella, followed by layers of vegetables in whatever order guides you that day. Add the sliced chicken, brushed with a little bit of olive oil.
Top with more mozzarella, dotted with more olive oil. Bake at 400F for no more than ten minutes. Enjoy.