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Muriel Anderson’s cookbook combines music and great food

By Sharon Little • Jul 10, 2019 at 12:00 AM

I had a unique opportunity to work with the very gifted musician Muriel Anderson awhile ago. She welcomed me into her home to do a bit of prep work for a gathering she was hosting. I felt at home immediately. Fresh vegetables and herbs were everywhere, and the experience is one I treasure.

She is currently working on a cookbook that will incorporate lovely stories from her life and travels, as well as a music recording, a tune for each recipe! (Details at murielanderson.com/now)

This bruschetta recipe is a wonderful opportunity to share the bounty of summer with your friends and family. Muriel will be performing at Northeast State Community College on July 17 with guest John McEuen. It is a free concert, and I was so excited to hear that she would be playing in a place I’ll always call home. Enjoy the recipe and the music. Cheers!

From Muriel’s Kitchen:

Bryan’s Bruschetta

There have been several occasions that either of Bryan or I have made a batch of this and then proceeded to eat it all while still standing at the cutting board, and called it dinner. Needless to say, it is our favorite hors d’oeuvre. It does have all the important food groups after all…

2 medium-sized tomatoes

1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives

2 large cloves of garlic

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup olive oil

1 baguette

Bryan recounts: I remember being taken with the idea of recreating this bruschetta I’d had at a restaurant many years before. I hadn’t had it since that time, and in my attempts to include all that I thought was in the original I seem to have come up with a very different variation. It’s probably fair to say this blend is somewhere between a true bruschetta and a tapenade, but I love it.

Dice the tomatoes into quarter-inch pieces. Any sweet ripe tomatoes are fine and heirlooms better still. Dice a third of a cup (about 12 to 15 depending on size) of Kalamata olives. The pre-pitted ones are ever so much easier to work with. Add about 1 cup of chopped basil, and enough olive oil to just cover all. Add 1 large clove of garlic crushed through a garlic press (or dice finely). Taste the concoction on a small piece of bread before adding the second (or third) garlic clove, as garlic may vary in size and strength. While you can serve this right away, if allowed to sit for an hour or two, the flavors will mingle and infuse together very nicely. The garlic in particular won’t have quite such a hard edge. Slice a baguette into thin slices and toast lightly. A plain baguette works better than the peasant bread varieties since larger holes allow the bruschetta to pour right through. Spoon the bruschetta onto the toasts and enjoy with a glass of red wine.

Variations: Substitute roasted red peppers and/or sun-dried tomatoes for fresh tomatoes. A little rosemary makes a great addition. When in season, chive blossoms can add an unusual new color.

Sharon Little is a community contributor for the Kingsport Times News.

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