August 22, 2011

Breakfast Bruschetta

Every food has a story. This morning I saw the bread from yesterday and wanted toast. I thought, "this isn't just any toast. This is Maorizio's rustic loaf perfect for bruschetta". I don't usually eat bruschetta for breakfast..but a flat of my good friend Michael's heirloom tomatoes were staring me in the face. They are so sweet and delicious, I thought to myself, "better than jam".

Bruschetta means 'slightly burned', the grill marks that sear the bread when toasted on an open fire. I just toasted the bread, eliminated the garlic, put butter instead, that melted quickly giving that aroma of goodness that comes together like nothing other than bread and butter. I sliced the tomatoes and put a few basil leaves on top. You might say, " why is this different from a tomato sandwich? Because it isn't.

It's breakfast bruschetta because I said so, and I am leaving for Italy in two days and if it's anything, it's mezzo mezzo. Maorizio's bread and Michael's tomatoes merit a good salute. But for the sake of invention on this fine day when I should be packing instead of posting.. it is what it is.


A few slices of fine crusty bread
Good butter (in this case, just because I found it at Alfalfa's Market, I used Buffalo butter)
Ripe tomatoes, preferably home grown if you can find them, and have a generous friend.
Course sea salt
Fresh basil
Extra virgin olive oil
..... .  .....

Toast the bread in a toaster, or in the oven or on an open fire.
Slather with butter.
Slice tomatoes and place on the bread.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt
Dab a few basil leaves top
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (just pressed from Chile~ you can find it in Alfalfa's bulk oil dept.)


August 18, 2011

Cool Cucumber Summer Soup from The House of Dreams

I live in the House of Dreams, "La Maison des Reves", right here in Boulder, Colorado.
It rivals any French garden. Although it has been a temporary home, my desk overlooks a rushing creek that flows into a pond, where geese fly in and out and the occasional wild bobcat or bear tend to visit upon occasion. The land that slopes down to the pond is dotted with black eyed Susan's, lavender, dahlia, wild roses and herbs that make for a pleasant summer mood.

I heard the cicada's sing in the tall cottonwood trees, midday today. For them the conditions were delightful. It was a sign. There are cucumbers in the garden, as well as scallion and dill, perfect for a cool summer evening soup. It would be refreshing and fit the sunset hour. I thought, if it's hot enough for them to sing, it's hot enough for us to eat cool cucumber soup.

Soon the weather will change. Soon I will be heading back to Italy. Soon I will be leaving the House of Dreams.


5 cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 quart coconut milk
1 pint goat yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper

 Peel cucumbers and cut them in half, scraping out seeds. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and let them stand 30 minutes. Drain excess water.

Chop the cucumbers coarsely and put the pieces in the blender along with scallions, dill, lemon juice, coconut milk, and yogurt. Blend at high speed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill well before serving.

(Substitute milk or yogurt as you prefer).

August 3, 2011

A Letter from Spain, via Chef Kim Schiffer.


Ripe cherries, screaming to be picked and eaten right there on our hike; so beautiful and iridescently rose-y with the sunlight shining through them. Who knew we would fine this unexpected gift?!

We were high in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Andalucia, in the midst a cooking adventure at Casa Ana. It was the end of June and hot. The peaceful quiet was interrupted only by the bells on the goats and sheep that passed in the evening, and the occasionally droning fat bee. Taking a break from the kitchen, we were hiking one of the many ancient Moorish trails that traverse these hills.

When we came across a grotto with a tiny waterfall and ferns, we ducked our heads under to cool off. So lovely. We had gathered our ingredients the previous day at the mercado in downtown Malaga. Back at Casa Ana, chicken was marinating in cinnamon, salt, and olive oil. Eggplant had been chopped. "Little Gems" washed, rice poised to be made into pilaf. Anne Hunt, the owner of Casa Ana, made marmalade the previous winter from local oranges, which we would use as a glaze for the chicken. After our hike and a siesta we would cook our meal in a casuela and sit on the porch overlooking the mountains, with friends and crisp white wine. 

A feast for all of our senses, including our tastebuds.

~ Kim Schiffer

Kim inspects a crisp white Albarino during last fall's program, and Kim with her family at Casa Ana, this past summer.

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