Eight and Three Make Twenty

IMG_3026The past three days have been recuperating days – those that find themselves done by ten pm instead of two am. They have been short, sweet, and relaxing mainly to make up for last weekend’s visits, last minute holiday shopping, and preparations which all culminated in a sixteen to twenty person supper club.

To start off what felt like a marathon sprint, my mom arrived in town last Thursday to celebrate the holidays I didn’t get to have at home this year. That following Friday her partner showed up just in time for margaritas, fish tacos, and guacamole at my local Mexican restaurant.



Every moment in those two days, sparing work here and there, was jam packed with foods and walking and finding store that may have been just across the street even though we walked five blocks out of the way, and wines and laughter and serious talking about futures and family. Saturday rolled around, heralding in their departure after an introductory Indian food delivery dinner. I can’t hate – the Indian food in my neighborhood is almost required on a weekly basis.


Around ten pm Saturday night, I started to cook for what would become an eight-course meal. My original menu was four courses with one wine pairing and three other suggestions. After talking with my kitchen partner, it quickly became a conversation as to how many courses we could actually do.

We need cheeses.

Don’t you think we should have some sort of bread course?

What about breaking up the soup and salad?

Isn’t Fairway open?

The short and sweet answer is: no. Fairway, for those unaccustomed with greatness, is the best grocery store in the greater New York area (dispute me, I know there are close seconds). They have three locations that I know of in the city, one being in a huge warehouse down in Red Hook. The location is incredible, overlooking the Statue of Liberty. Why it is the best is because the aisles never stop. There are aisles for days. The produce section is as large as most grocery stores. The organic section? Bigger than two of my childhood homes. I taste tapenade and coffee and bread and cheeses and olives as I shop. Best yet, it is the cheapest I know of.

Needless to say, this was both of our stores of choice. Strapping my seatbelt on at seven to make the store’s closing at nine, I rushed down there. No matter if I had left at noon or midnight, the store is still in disrepair after Sandy.




The day after Sandy, I went around Redhook, taking pictures trying to grasp the effects of the disastrous hurricane, but since then, I almost think – in some optimistic corner of my brain – that everything has returned to normal. It hasn’t – there are an insane amount of people still without power and homes. So as a side note, please donate your time or efforts to help them.

With my mind reeling from the hurricane and how I was going to get the ingredients to start to prep for Sunday, I panicked and went to my safe place: Trader Joe’s. You’ll have a hard time beating the prices of that place. The produce might not be the best, but their quesadilla taste tests are so satisfying after waiting in line for five minutes.

Home by eight, the moms gone by nine, I was in the kitchen cooking at ten. Come four in the morning, I finally set my head on my pillow and drifted off for a three hour nap before the next day’s work started to call me awake.

A wonderfully difficult Sunday shift left me tired by four and racing home by six.

I don’t know how we’re going to do this.

I’m so tired.

What did you actually get done?

Do you have a peeler?

What wine did they order?

We need to get baguettes.

My good friend and kitchen guru by my side by six thirty, we started to chop, peel, dice our way to freedom.

What seems insane, is that although I made the cake and soup (what were ostensibly the first and last courses) the prior night, we still had six courses to cook in two hours. People were to show up by eight. They started the flood around quarter after seven.

With our hearts racing, minds reeling, and knives precisely slicing, we had to make a game plan. The risotto was still crunchy. The chicken needed another thirty minutes. The eggplant had come out quicker than we had predicted, so the menu changed again. It broke down from four to six to eight courses and bowls and plates were starting to be wiped and readied.



With people sitting comfortably in the main room sipping on hot toddies and chilled white wines, I bring out a massive cutting board filled with cheeses and crackers. Followed shortly by a shaved Fennel salad. The night progressed steadily with a break around course five.

After the Brussels course, a good friend and cook at one of the restaurants came strolling into the kitchen bearing a flower.


I brought a flower, he giggled.

Brian, please, help us with the chicken. You love carving, right?

Yeah, put me in the game.

And that was it, he became our third, throwing in suggestions, helpful tips, and gorgeous meat carving. By the time the olive oil cake came into play, he started in on melting the chocolate without question, asking only how I wanted the dish plated.

Oui Chef, he said, almost as sternly as if we were behind the line six short hours ago.

Three hours came and went and people were sedated, sated, and so very content. Throughout the night we saw twenty people, serving vegetarian options, and by the end, I passed quickly into a dreamy state of exhausted bliss.

No matter how tired I may be, it will always be worth it.



Eight and Three Menu

Cheese Board of Brie, Smoked Gouda, Chevre, New Zealand Cheddar, Olives, and crackers

Toasted Baguette with Compound Truffle Butter with Fresh Heirloom Bruschetta and Basil

Shaved Fennel Salad on Mixed greens with Sliced Apples, Orange Supremes, and Rice Vinaigrette

Smoked Tomato Soup with Ricotta Salata and Pea Shoots

Roasted Cauliflower on Seared Brussels Sprouts with Turkey Bacon and Roasted Garlic

Pureed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup, Bourbon, and Roasted Chicken

Barley Risotto with Roasted Root Vegetables and Compound Herb Butter

Olive Oil Cake on Salted Chocolate with Orange Zest



Want one? Get at U.S. unfamiliarsuppers@gmail.com

To unfamiliar places, people, and food


Dinner for Two

Thanksgiving has never been a normal holiday for me. The tradition of tradition never fully formed, rather my tradition is to do something new almost every year. Scotland thanksgiving in a dorm kitchen. Late night turkey dinners in the outskirts of Florence. Drives into the Adirondacks to pseudo-log cabins to an almost frozen lake. Army supplied turkey in a studio apartment high above the Seoul streets. Turkey with family and friends. It really never looks the same.

This year, yet again, my plans began to unravel as my schedule made me work a late night Thanksgiving eve and an early morning the day after. So, with around 24 hours to spare to myself, I had to decide, what would I do? Stay home in Brooklyn and essentially take up what would become the most typical American Thanksgiving ever – sleep in, eat, drink, nap, watch too much T.V., pass out, wake up to eat more pie, finally sleep until morning – or go home to do much of the same, just surrounded by family and animals?

When I woke up at 10:30am, I knew my decision had been made: lazy America here I come.

I, however, couldn’t be overly lazy. Who am I to wake up and never leave the house? My daily agenda has run, write, bike to work, work, and clean on it almost daily. So to erase all of that just down to “eat” would be a little drastic and insensitive. With a quick personal Turkey trot out of the way, and a wonderful meeting of friends from years past (see: I ate Thanksgiving with her in Italy) on the steps of the Brooklyn Museum, I set off to the grocery store.

Granted, the day before I luckily carried money with me on a run in the morning and ran into a pop-up pre-Thanksgiving farmers market right by Prospect Park. It was, dare I say, almost magical. I loaded up with twenty dollars of produce (see: a bag of root vegetables, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Apples (I was hungry for the now, too)). I also snagged an apple cider donut. The vendor asked “sugar or cake” “Sugar, please.” “That’s right, because sugar is so good for you after a run, right?” “Stop judging me, I want sugar.”

I still can’t believe I told him to stop judging me. He chuckled, I think.

At the grocery store, I must have lost consciousness or had a momentary bout of amnesia because I walked out with six bags of groceries and plans for six or seven dishes. On a normal Thanksgiving, that wouldn’t be too awfully crazy and hedonistic, but I was cooking for two, or three.

It was no later than two when I got home, unloaded groceries, put away the dried dishes, and started to chop my first onion. As opposed to my past dinner parties of flurry and fury and frantic last minute bouts of flash roasting – this was incredibly sustained, contained, and almost routine. With a Radiolab podcast teaching me about Patient Zeros (Typhoid Mary was a cook, didn’t you know?), I went through a pound of butter, five onions, a pound of Brussels Sprouts, a box of chicken stock, and made the house smell incredible for just three of us.

Come 5:30, I was ready. The oven kicked down from 350 to 200, and I anxiously awaited the doorbell.

Alas, by 6:45, it was two of us. My other companion had been held up by other turkeys and more mashed potatoes in bowls and on plates somewhere much north of me near to the infamous hipsterville. No matter, every Thanksgiving has a new tradition, and this one was simply to sit, take a deep breath of calm, sip on new wine, and strategically maneuver through too much food.

With Brussles Sprouts braised in Mustard, a White Bean Gratin, String Beans with Panko and Baby Portabellas, Roasted Spicy Fennel, Root Mash, Familial Stuffing, and two Spiced Pumpkin Maple Pies on the table, there was a lot to be thankful for and a lot of lying down after to do. Complaining or second guessing was no where to be found.

Here is my Thanksgiving menu. I hope you enjoyed yours, despite the cold or the traffic or the relatives that just wouldn’t stop pestering you about your new job or the one you can’t find anymore – there is too much to be Thankful for to ruin such a good day of food and relaxation.

Roasted Fennel (Salt, Red Pepper Flake, Olive Oil)

White Bean Gratin (White Beans, Onion, Kale, Garlic, Lemon, Salt, Pepper, Herbs de Provence, Cayenne, Panko, Olive Oil)

Stuffing (Bag-O-Crutons, Breakfast sausage, onions, butter, celery, carrots, Kale, Pepper, Chicken Stock, Red Wine)

Root Mash (Carrots, Rutabaga, Fingerlings, Russets, Parsnips, Milk, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Garlic)

Green Beans (Baby Portabellas, Green Onion, Oil, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, Butter, Panko)

French Brussels (Brussels Sprouts, Onion, Garlic, Chicken Stock, Rice Wine Vinegar, Salt, Dijon)

Spiced Pumpkin Pie (Pumpkin, Milk, Maple Syrup, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Salt, Ginger, Ginger Snaps, Butter, Salt)


Beaujolais Nouveau 2012

Malbec Mendoza 2011


White Bean Gratin (quick and easy way)

2 cans of white beans (Northern Beans)

1 Onion (chopped)

3 Cloves of Garlic (diced)

Six or so leaves of Tuscan Kale (flat leaves)

½ Lemon (the juice is what you’re looking for)

Rice Wine Vinegar

Two Dashes of Cayenne

Four Dashes of Herbs de Provence


Olive Oil


Pre-heat the oven to 350.

On medium-high heat, sautee the chopped onion and diced garlic until the onions start to loose their color. Add the Kale, and let it them wilt. Mix together the beans, cayenne, and Herbs in a separate bowl with the Kale is weeping. When the Kale has lost almost a quarter of their size (water weight), add the bean mixture. Let sautee for a few minutes and add the acids (lemon juice and vinegar – don’t use other vinegars. If you don’t have rice wine, it’s all good). Salt this mixture. I like salt, so I make it rain. If you don’t, don’t add as much.

Transfer this all to a casserole dish or something safe to head into the oven. In that bowl you mixed the beans and Herbs together in, empty about ¾ cup of Panko Bread Crumbs and 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Throw these on top of the bean-kale fiasco, and bake if off for about 30-45 minutes (let that top get crusty and golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Starting To Get Warm

When I look back on last winter, I remember a tiger onesie that acted as my heat – seeing as my Korean-style warmed-floor heat was broken – biting cold that, one day, left me crumpled up in a ball along the Han River rocking back and forth hoping for blood to restore to its rightful place in my hands, coats that never kept me quite warm enough, and some delicious foods. Kimchi and soup and stews and lots of barbeque. I remember some pitchers of watered down beer and the first endeavors into what was higher-class Korean cooking. I also remember a little venture into Thailand to escape the cold.

This winter, Brooklyn has been so much the kinder with mild days in the 30s and 40s and sometimes 60s. Runs in shorts and long sleeved t-shirts and coffee outside and even wind breaker jackets all create a thread of a winter affected by global warming. I mean, come on, no one’s kidding here – it is real people.

Sure we’ve had a few snow flurries and nights have become cold enough that I don’t want to bike home because my bare hands touching a metal lever to use the breaks doesn’t sound like a wining combination. But on the whole, this winter has been tepid. Luke-warm. One that, to my warnings for friends from California of “It gets so cold that you don’t even want to go outside despite the shining blue skies,” has left me a liar.

Until, really, now. Now it is cold. Now it hurts to walk outside with a hand exposed to hold the cell phone to my ear. Now I bundle down into my hood and jacket and sip hot coffee to warm my insides. Now I crave hot chocolate and hot cheese. Now I want for movies under blankets. Now I am a bear and start to hibernate.

No more salads, either. When it gets this cold, I don’t want “fresh” per se. I want cooked and soothing. I want comfort food, but not in the Southern typical fried cheesy mess that comes out with chicken and mashed potatoes and collards and corn bread and some pumpkin pie. Well, I don’t want that kind of comfort food, always – that is. More, I want warmed breads with local fat-full butter and a steaming hot soup.

With my CSA share (yes, folks, CSAs happen in the winter too! And it’s not ALL beets!), I’ve been able to explore some pretty amazing soups to help me through the cold days and warm me up after a long run. They also are great for freezing and moving forward in life with. Together.

The most recent soup adventure I went on was guided by my work place’s amuse-bouche. Before you start on your main meal (be that just an entrée, or an appetizer, too), the chefs come out and give you a gift from the kitchen to excite your palate: an amuse-bouche. Often a soup and some hot potato croquets, the amuse-bouche is a wonderful surprise and generous offer from the chefs of your meal.

They’ve been doing some potato-leek or parsnip soups as of late, and that just sounds splendid on chilly days. Rooty, nutty, rich, earthy; sustenance.

With the muse of my workplace, and the box of root vegetables sitting in the refrigerator, I took to a 400 degree oven with about seven parsnips, four carrots, one acorn squash, one onion, five cloves of garlic, seven potatoes, olive oil from Italy, truffle salt, pepper, and forty minutes.

On the stove’s top sat sixteen ounces of vegetable stock, ten ounces of water, two browned cloves of garlic, peanut oil, and sesame oil, with touches of salt and pepper. Simple seasonings, for simple goodness. Cliché? Sorry.

After forty minutes, the veggies (turned once during their stay in the warm oven) hopped into the veggie stock, and sat for another twenty minutes.

Armed with my masher (no immersion blender, yet!), I mashed my way through the squash, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic. A quick staycation in a blender with the help of about a quarter-cup of water per three cups of soup, made this soup a pureed dream.

Now, after only about an hour and fifteen, sits nearly ten cups of silky smooth, nutty (see: parsnips!), earthy (see: truffle salt!), slightly sweet (see: parsnips! Carrots! Squash!), umami based (see: sesame oil! Peanut oil!) soup with depth and a subtle burst of flavor.

In front of my third story window, looking out over the bare trees and setting sun’s light on the brownstones across the way, next to a window that lets just a small amount of fresh crisp frigid air in, I topped my steam-dancing soup with some parmesan and pepper and felt fully warm and content during the depths of winter.

The Day After

What to do, the day after filling your belly to Santa-like proportions?

One: sleep in.

Two: Pack up the car and head north with your family.

Three: Watch the sunset.

Four: Eat leftovers. Leftovers!

Five: Play in the snow.

Six: Take it all in.

Seven: Go antiquing.

Eight: explore something new.

Nine: Try not to think about how much you ate yesterday and enjoy your LEFTOVERS!

Ten: Remember that there’s still some time of vacation left.


The Thanksgiving Sandwich (Tried and true and people been doing this for forever)

Squishy bread (no artisanal stuff here, folks)

Mayo (duh, my god, duh)

Cranberry Sauce ( see: 4 cups of cranberries, ¾ cup sugar, 1 cup water, ¼ cup honey, 1 orange’s zest, ½ tsp cloves, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cardamom – Bring water to a boil, add cranberries, let them pop (about 10 minutes), reduce heat, add all that stuff, cook for another 7 minutes)

Turkey (white meat! Yum!)


Stuffing (moist. Delicious. Meaty.)

Brussels Sprouts (four halves work well)

Pepper. Pepper. Black Ground Pepper all over that sandwich!

Spinach or Arugula (if you want to get all healthy, cause that’s what Thanksgiving is about…)

Do not toast it. Leave it cold. Eat it before lunch the next morning. It’s a Brunch time fiesta. Then go outside and play with your family or friends or whomever makes you happiest.

Ps. Yes, I think this will show up somewhere in an official kitchen I happen to be a part of…

Thanksgiving: The Day Cooks Love (Or Fear)

Text: “How was your fantastic food holiday”

Message: “I’ve been waiting for your post.”

Question: “So, what’d you eat on Thanksgiving?”

It might be just the American thing to do: ask about that holiday where we gorge ourselves and delight and laugh at the fullness we feel, let alone and sometimes separate from the satiation that is ubiquitous throughout homes warmed by ovens cooking turkey at 350 for 3-6 hours. Or, it might be the fact that I think about, talk about, write about, take pictures of food twentyfourseven. Whatever.

To answer those questions: My fantastic food holiday was splendid. It was wonderful and full of family (not all of my family, unfortunately, since we’re all spread out across the country trying to take over, but of course!) and friends and going to the grocery store and stocking up, and writing down lists and trying to time the cooking procedures just right and working well with Nancy in the kitchen and the oven not working the night before and making ice cream that might not be ice cream rather just frozen milk fats surrounding brandy… it was ridiculous.

Thanksgiving is such a strange holiday for me. It’s one of those days that I feel drawn to the home so that I can really flex my culinary muscles – it’s a day that centers around my passion, so why wouldn’t I love every second of it? I get to go to the grocery store, fight through the hoards of people in line for a turkey, go to the wine shop to pick out a nice red to couple well with those few sides that people may or may not focus on, then come home, blast the oven, turn on the open flame, and zone out to the sizzling, whispering, steaming food in front of me.

It’s also the holiday that I feel most comfortable being away from home, strangely enough. In the past 8 years, I’ve spent 4 of them abroad or away from the home. It’s a nice challenge, it’s a nice reminder of home, when it’s so far away.

But this year. THIS year. This YEAR! I’m home. I’m on the path to turning my kitchen official. I’m making money so that I can splurge on that nice cheese to make the squash casserole just that much deeper, that much better. This year was great.

On the menu, dear readers all anxiously awaiting:

Turkey Prepared according to Saveur’s recommendation (including letting the bird sit in the refrigerator for two days, to “dry out” the skin to create oh-so-moist meat)

Grandma Slappin’ Good Stuffing (non-vegetarian, folks)

Homemade, not-so-bitter Cranberry Sauce

Butternut Squash Bake (or casserole, whatever nomenclature you prefer)

Mashed Potatoes (mmm Half n’ Half abound!)

Not Slimey, Not Bitter, Not disgusting Collard Greens

Brussels Sprouts cooked in a Wok. Who knew?

Braised Carrots

Gravy (please pass the water glass, it’s that good)

No Biscuits… sad face emoticon

Rye Whiskey Ice Cream

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Spicy Pumpkin Pie

Since the Recipes would take up another four pages, let me choose some of the favorites:

Nancy’s Stuffing:

It’s a secret, how annoying.


Collard Greens (that won’t make you run to the garbage)

In order of appearance

6 Strips of bacon

Cook these strips, cut in half, for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat

Olive Oil – a splash(ish)

2 big ol’ handfuls of Collards (they’ll cook down)

Salt  (to taste)

Pepper (enough so that you can see it on the collards)

1 package of chestnuts

1 White (or red) onion, chopped (or diced, whatever floats your life-vest)

Add all of this to the bacon, and let it cook together, over medium-low heat, for about 45 minutes. It won’t get too soggy, I promise (there’s no real liquid in there, remember)

Add a couple swigs of maple syrup 10 minutes before you’re done cooking the greens. More if you like them sweet, less if you like them not as sweet.

Total, the flame should be kissing the bottom of your cast iron (or other pan) for about an hour and five to an hour and ten minutes.

If you let them cool, and save some for tomorrow, then they’ll be even sweeter and more tender. Just sayin, they go quite nicely on a “next day sandwich.”

When Description Prevails or Serving

To make time useful, satisfy a passion, and pay rent, my latest installment in living as a 20something is serving at a fine dining restaurant here in Brooklyn. I feel that, among other things, it is a nice way to complete and round out a 20something’s way of life: college eats, travel abroad, lounging in fields, eating random things that may not have an English translation, and working in the service industry.

Among other things (like teach), I feel that everyone should hold a restaurant job at least once in their life. It’s important to fully understand how much work it takes to keep people happy, full, and tipping well. I’ve worked in restaurants for a bunch of my life, actually. Well, to be clear: I’ve worked in the food world for a while. Busser, Bartender, Server, Caterer, Sous Chef, Manager, I’ve done a bunch of it (not to mention try my hand at a few recipes as well). And now, I’ve jumped back into the job with joy. Mainly because of the restaurant itself.

This place is an upstanding, upscale American cuisine place that does it up right. They take the seasons as cues for changes on the menu and go to the farmers market as much as possible. They listen to the customer to make sure that the food coming out is perfectly to the diner’s liking. They taste wines and keep their staff informed. And what I like most about it: I can talk to people about food for eight hours at a time. Ask me a question about artichokes, beets, duck, haddock, chicken, sweet potatoes, sunchokes, you name it I’ve got you covered.

And what this job really has enabled me to do is expand my verbal and not written capacity to describe food. So, on this day after a day of all ones (11.1.11) and a few days before that other day of all ones (11.11.11) – side note: is anyone weirded out by that or are there email chains going around about luck or non-luck if you don’t forward that onto seven people in the next three minutes? – I’m going to try something different: no pictures. Only words. Tell me if you get it.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we have a plate full of vegetables and grains prepared five ways. First, we start off with a light salad of baby spinach and arugula, both light yet slightly bitter, topped with a sherry vinaigrette providing sweet notes to balance the subtle bite. This light salad is followed by couscous enlivened with rice wine vinegar, ginger, kosher salt, a touch of brown sugar, and extra virgin olive oil to give a hearty base to the green plate. Next, braised kale served with kosher salt, olive oil, to keep a thin flavor line between the couscous and kale, and braised Macoun apples giving it a deep, rich, dark green flavor brought out by the braise, yet autumnal and classic from the apple. Next, roasted sunchokes with olive oil and rosemary. The roasting brings out both the starch and sweetness from the sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, and coupling that with rosemary provides for the perfect Fall dish. Finally, we have pan-sautéed Brussels sprouts with garlic, salt, a touch of maple syrup, and chopped fennel. This flavorful dish gives a hearty green – akin to a small leafy cabbage – some love with butter and garlic, some childishness with the natural sweetening from maple syrup, and a touch of elegance from the liquorish flavors bursting forth from the fennel taking this vegetable far from what mama used to tell us to eat. Together, we play on the sweet, savory, bitter sensations with a hint of sour nestling in the couscous and vinaigrette.  Please, enjoy.

Autumn Falling

It is October, and it seems like fall is just starting to creep in on New York. Normally, it is about mid August and people start breaking out the scarves, light jackets, and slippers at night to keep the mosquitoes and chills off their arms and legs, but this summer has been long and splendid. Because of the extended warmth, shorts and summer vegetables have been abound, but it was really this weekend that the chills started up. After a long shift, biking home was just a bit too chilly for me. Long socks have become more of a necessity than  fashion choice. And thinking about dinner, I started to think about soup.

It’s a sign for me that seasons are changing here when my culinary cravings turn autumnal and to a stove topped with a big pot full of soup or stew. During the summer, I always want fresh and raw. Light and crisp. Health and savory. But last night all I wanted was something comforting. Something that touched my soul with a warm hand and gave me an internal hug. So, I turned to a recipe I’ve been thinking about for a while: the combination of French Onion Soup, Childhood Lunches, and a touch of gourmet-ness.

After an afternoon of street festivals, candied apples, and bundling down into a down vest, I turned to my stove at five and started roasting tomatoes, garlic, and basil.  I poured some vegetable stock into a blender and starting to caramelize onions on the stove top with olive oil and kosher salt. After a half hour at 400 degrees, the tomatoes (both canning tomatoes and cherry) were roasted, smoked, and absolutely delicious.

Yes, folks, I was on the path for some tomato soup. Childhood lunch, check. But what was so French Onion Soupy about it? When the tomatoes went into the oven, I also sliced nine pieces of baguette to let sit out and crisp up. Around five minutes away from tomato roasting completion, cheddar cheese found its way from block to grater to plate in anticipation to act as the crowning top to my baked roasted tomato soup.

With no mugs that might withstand the 400 degrees chamber for twenty minutes, I poured the tomato soup into mini-loaf pans, topped them with three slices of crusty baguette and sprinkled raw cow’s milk cheddar over top. Twenty minutes later, I had three serving of soup that satisfied the grilled cheese and tomato soup desires we all have on crisp evenings. Accompanied by a night of live bluegrass music, this evening left me excited for the autumn to fall.


Topped Tomato Soup (aka Childhood in a bowl)

6 tomatoes

½ pint cherry tomatoes

3 cloves garlic

Sprinkle of basil

Slice all of that, roast in an oven at 400 for 20-30 minutes


2/3 cup vegetable stock

1 red onion chopped and caramelized

Kosher Salt

Add the tomatoes to this in a blender and pulse until combined


1 baguette, sliced and left out for at least an hour

Cheese (cheddar, gruyere, chevre, feta all can work)


Pour the soup into an oven-safe dish and top with crusty bread. Top that with the cheese. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.

I also served this with a balsamic sautee of mushrooms, bok choy, eggplant, and garlic. It was a nice, deep, compliment to the brightness of the sweet soup.