Thursday, July 30, 2009


Seeds become plants. Plants become food. Words become a story. And the story nourishes. These day as my words become - nothing, I fall back on the food! I am in the midst -of - how to say this gracefully -
"throwing up words on paper."
Not appetizing and not worthy of being in a play. As I work on my middle school play commission, I delete more than I write. I tell myself that this:

became this:
Under my guiding hands, basil became -


Tomatoes transform into...


These darling cucumber cups with gazpacho were found at: Figtree Appetizers. (Program note: She has a cast of small bites to please even the most discriminating audiences.)
And a pluot -

can become jam. (If it wishes really hard.)

How pretty is that? And easy. Ease is important because although I wait for the muse, my mind races and clicks. My brain has trapdoors, clacks, mazes and swings. As I cook, I concoct - in the mind and at the cutting board.
It's a quick, savory jam (rosemary, vinegar) that tops a shmear of goat cheese on a crostini. Creamy, tart, sweet and savory, it is a must for someone who cannot make up her mind. All in a few bites. It looks like A Midsummer Night's Dream, tastes exactly As You Like It and certainly sings a welcoming overture.
(Makes about 1 cup)
3/4 pound pluots (3-5 depending on size) (Pitted and diced; no need to peel)
3 T honey
4 T (or more, I did more) balsamic vinegar
1 T (or more, I did more) fresh lemon juice
2 t finely grated lemon peel
1/2 t freshly minced rosemary (Okay, I did a good 2-3 t; love rosemary!)
1/8 t coarse kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper
2 T chopped fresh chives
Place pluots, honey, vinegar lemon juice, lemon peel, rosemary, salt and pepper in sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until fruit breaks down and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. I was able to write a good two pages (which I deleted) in that time! Cook about 20 minutes. Cool. Adjust seasonings; add chives. Serve on toasted bread topped with goat cheese. Sing.
Bon Appetit July 2009 has quite a few wonderful pluot recipes (a pluot is a plum and an apricot - so you know its good). I'm currently eyeing the pluot pinwheel tart... Now, on to dinner:
SWORDFISH WITH CUCUMBER-LIME RELISH (From Gourmet; recipe makes one serving)
Easy, fresh, looks like July, tastes like summer should. And yes, I did go overboard with the salsa topping! There's a fish peeking through ... somewhere. As elusive on the plate as in the water!
Summer transformation. Now if only the muse would come and transform me.


Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Love it! You are so very fun. That fish and salsa. I want that for dinner Friday. Start checking your mail next week.

Anonymous said...

Is that a type of plum? It looks delicious! As for the writing inspiration, it tends to creep up on you when you least expect it! Keep transforming!

Katy ~ said...

The crostini looks divine! Clever way to present gazpacho.

You and the muse will soon find each other. It's a game of hide and seek.

Wanda..... said...

You make me want to see your plays and come to dinner afterwards Claudia! I'm sure your words will come for that commissioned play.

Anonymous said...

How fun! I love all these dishes! The gaspacho in cucumber cups is so cute and I would love to try the pluot jam. I've only read about pluot but never tried it.

Cookin' Canuck said...

I love all of your transformations! These dishes look wonderful

Reeni said...

The jam and goat cheese is crying out to me. What deliciousness you have been cooking up! Your muse in the kitchen will soon follow for your writing!

OhioMom said...

What a wonderful way to tap into your muse ... for me it is kneading bread LOL

I love all the garden fresh veggies .. especially the pesto! Have lots of basil on my hands, and I do remember the tip you gave me about making it up and freezing for later ... thanks :)

unconfidentialcook said...

Love your post! And that swordfish looks divine!!!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Everything looks so cool and summertime perfect, Claudia!

I don't think I've ever tasted a plulots before. How would you describe it?

Barbara GF said...

What lovely figurative food references, Claudia. You are a culinary poet, indeed!
What a fine name is pluot. :)

Claudia said...

Arrrrgh! I need more than a muse - I need a proper spell check! Sorry, all - for writing plulot instead of pluot! It's a cross between a plum and an apricot - not an "apriclot!" It is wonderfully tart - with enough juiciness and sweetness that you don't make a sour face. It's worth having the juice trickle down your chin. It's worth ... spelling correctly.

Donna-FFW said...

That salsa looks so delicious on top of the swordfish, I love the idea of a cucumber salsa. The jam-- oh that jam-- Id love it on some rye toast!

Heather S-G said...

Lovely, my lovely!! What is the world is a pluot!? I must find one! You've created magic here :)

Lyndas recipe box said...

You have been one busy lady cooking up a storm! Every dish looks delicious( oh that pesto)!

Judy said...

Everything looks beautiful and delicious. Such nice photos too. I love Bon Appetit, they have great recipes. I always find something in an issue I want to try. The pluot jam was on my wish list.

Jackie at said...

Love your pesto. Very beautiful bright green color. I always make extra that I can vacuum-seal and store in the freezer for future use. I place it in an ice cube tray, freeze, the vaccum seal them 3 by 3. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I keep them exactly the same way I would do with caramelized onions and my meat tenderizer. Check out my pistachio pesto at

Bunny said...

It all looks lovely Claudia, you are a master of words and food!