Last week we had a death in the family. The boys lost their great-grandmother. No, not Oma. Where Oma is the only grandparent I have ever known, my boys have been lucky enough to have all their grandparents close at hand, and several great-grandparents. Besides Oma, they have a great-grandpa (who Aidan visited in India last November) and a Gigi - Anik's mum's mother, who passed away last week. Although I was never close to her, Gigi meant a lot to Aidan, who visited her with his grandparents every chance he got, and delighted in being allowed to go up to her room by himself, to bring her down in her wheelchair.
We had a small memorial for her on Sunday, with friends and family all adorned in white, (the traditional mourning colour for Hindus), with photos of her glamorous life and music from the 1930s as a backdrop for eating and chatting. The food was all supplied by family and friends, and one of the dishes I contributed was this one. I had started a post about it earlier, but it seemed counterintuitive to continue that post now, without acknowledging this event. Aidan and his cousin Jake ended the memorial with this blessing, which seems like a lovely way to say goodbye:
May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.
I love this idea. In my head, an ideal picnic has loads of dainty nibbles, all pretty and luxurious, but in practise, I've never found a good way to make it work. It's hard to make food pretty AND portable, you know? But this works.
Borrowed from Baking Obsession, I adapted her recipe from the get-go. Don't get me wrong, hers looks lovely, but I'm not very into salty foods, and I'm not into salami at all. For my first attempt, I omitted the salami, but compensated with just slightly more of all the non-cheese ingredients, to maintain texture. My family was happy enough with the results that the entire loaf disappeared in the space of an hour, but I wasn't satisfied that I had it quite right yet. The red peppers worked, yes, but replacing salami with olives is not really the road to a less salty dish. I thought about it. Then Jack had the answer.
"Next time you buy stick bread mom, (stick bread is what he calls baguettes) can you just make bruschetta again?"
Bruschetta. Too messy for picnics, of course. Unless you mixed it with herbed goat's cheese and stuffed it inside a baguette...
Here is what I used it my second attempt, which was much more to my liking:
One baguette, about 14 inches long
8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces of fresh goat cheese
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup of finely chopped red bell pepper
½ cup of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
¼ cup of finely chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup of finely chopped Roma tomatoes, drained
A generous handful of minced Italian parsley
About 1 tsp of minced fresh oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the cheeses in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended, add garlic and then all other ingredients and combine well.
Hollow out your baguette with a long knife, and then stuff with your filling. A shot glass does an excellent job of pushing filling into the middle. Once your baguette is stuffed, wrap well with saran wrap and refrigerate for several hours, then slice and serve.