Yes all the rumors I've been circulating on social media are true; it is indeed my birthday! (Please hold your applause, it's a yearly thing.) Honestly I don't find the day all that exciting. Usually I just give myself a high five because I did wake up after all.
Last week when I ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant the server asked if I was 21, after I quit laughing at her I informed the nice young lady I was going to be 45 in a week. "Oh," she replied. "My mom died at 44." I immediately offered her my condolences and when she came back with my glass she added, "Make sure and take good care of yourself." I wasn't quite sure if she was trying to tell me I was looking as tired and run down as I felt or if she was psychic and knew something I didn't.
Usually I look forward to making myself an over the top dessert involving multiple layers and flavors but Mr. Bubonic was hanging out on the couch today ill and feverish and I figured it was much safer to hide upstairs in my office and catch up on some work.
Fine I will eat healthy even if it kills me I kept uttering to myself. The heirloom tomatoes I've been buying are so dripping fantastic right now I decided if I have to preserve my life longer I was going to do it with a bowl of Tomato Basil Soup.
Don't ask me how this sounded good, considering I have went to bed with the smell of tomatoes oozing from my pores the last few nights while I rebuild my inventory for the year.
Heirloom Tomato Basil Soup
4 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes or any very ripe tomatoes you can find
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup carrots, finely shredded (about 2 medium sized)
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, and finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut tomatoes in half and remove cores, place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
Peel the skins off the tomatoes and squeeze the seeds out into a sieve over a bowl. Reserve all the tomato juice and pulp.
In a stockpot add the olive oil, carrots, onion, and bell pepper and cook on medium-low heat till veggies are starting to wilt and become translucent. Add the tomatoes and juice, salt and pepper, and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the basil and cook 5 more minutes.
Use an immersion blender and pulse until semi-smooth. If you want a chunkier soup you can skip this step.
Mozzarella and Pesto Soldiers
Sliced sourdough bread
Fresh Mozzarella balls
Slather a little pesto on a piece of sourdough, a couple nice slabs of mozzarella, top with another slice of sourdough, place into a Panini maker or pan, drizzle the top with olive oil. Wait for the crustification and oozification to take place and slice into soldiers.
I bought the bread, pesto, and cheese; after all I probably don't have much time to waste after my ominous warning. But if you have plenty of more years ahead of you here are a couple of recipes you may want to try.
As for the source of the Black Death outbreak, well I traced it back to an unlikely source. After much research and tapping my vast medical knowledge I had no choice but to conclude that Rusty is the pariah. I have no idea how I could have missed it, it was right there staring at me the whole time: Blackening nails and an inguinal bubo on his armpit region.
If I make it to 45 years and 1 day all bets are off and I'm going back to decadent baked goods.
In the words of my wise daughter, "YOLO!"
The Birthday Girl