Every night I have to cook for customers who aren’t necessarily interested in eating a plant based meal. Tonight is no exception except that I have a guest Chef from the US. Her name is Annie and she is from San Francisco. You might have seen her on Facebook a few days ago when Judy posted pictures from our ‘Market to Table’ class. Annie is really awesome. A lovely person with whom I share a Chinese background and for being Chinese and never having been to China! I have recently met other Chinese who aren’t really Chinese like myself and it is fascinating how our strong not-really-Chinese heritage has shaped us as human beings.
I took Annie and her partner Jim to visit one of my favorite places in this area: The Cellole Abbey . An enchanting, spiritual place that was built around the X century. I like the peaceful harmony it now exudes. It was completely abandoned until a few years ago when a community of friars took it over and restored it to its original beauty. I often visit, and rarely I encounter another soul. They have a little shop where their home made jams and pottery are sold.
Last night Annie cooked with me again, and we made Pappa al Pomodoro and a Coconut Panna Cotta with caramelized Pineapple and Rhum; a Pina Colada Panna Cotta. I am working on perfecting it, but the result was not so bad.
- 8 cups of cubed day old sourdough bread
- 2 cups of loosely packed basil
- 1 whole head of garlic unpeeled
- 6 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups of Olive Oil
- 2 pinches of chili flakes
- 1/2 cup loosely packed then chopped basil
- You will need the best tomatoes you can find. If not, use the best canned tomatoes you can find.
- Toast the cubed bread for 15 minutes at 375°
- Meanwhile heat the olive oil, chili flakes, the basil and the whole head of Garlic.
- When the basil is crisp and the color has turned to a deep green, remove it from pan.
- Remove the browned garlic.
- Add the bread. Pour the Tomatoes over it.
- Add Salt
- Cook for no more than 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped basil.
- Mix, serve.
- Garnish with Olive oil, freshly ground pepper and more basil if you'd like
- So simple. So delicious. So Tuscan.
- Take it to a Potluck, it will be a guaranteed success.
- As with all of my recipes, which are simple and with so few ingredients, if you use the best quality you can find, the result will always be excellent.