Monday, August 29, 2011

Bruschetta, Alice and Summer Tomatoes

How was your weekend? Before I give you a delicious recipe, I wanted to mention I've changed the ability to leave comments. A few people had mentioned how darn right difficult it was, and I concurred. It should be much easier now (and thanks for your patience)!

Last Thursday was the 40th anniversary of Chez Panisse. If you've never heard of it, allow me to enlighten your life for the better.

{I could seriously decorate my life in this font...}

Alice Waters and company opened its doors in 1971 with the goal of presenting food that was seasonal, organic and locally grown, as well as creating a warm and cozy environment with precise attention to detail.

Girlfriend was doing this before it was cool and has since done much for the sustainable food revolution, as well as promoting food education for children through "The Edible Schoolyard" project. I try to live by the philosophies that she does to the best of my ability (and wallet, in all honesty). My favorite, go-to cookbook is The Art of Simple Food and through reading Miss Alice's words, I feel I'm a more confident cook.

I suppose you could call me a food revolutionary... Viva la revolucion!

Anywhoodle, it's with that confidence I came up with his bruschetta recipe.

For the record, I vacillate between calling it "broo-shet-ta" and "broo-scet-ta," and still haven't decided which is my fave; I try to use authentic pronunciations for things like this, but feel a bit pretentious with "broo-scet-ta." It's a struggle.

This easy recipe has a few of my favorite things, including toasted bread, goat cheese and tomatoes. August is truly the best month to enjoy a tomato and I indulge like no other when it rolls around (I may hate summer due to my lack of clothing options, but relish in the produce this hot season provides). In this recipe, I prefer heirloom cherry tomatoes because I find them to be sweeter and more flavorful. My measurements are a tad absent, but I've come to love cooking by the seat of my pants, meaning I see what I have, whip it up with eyed-approximate measurements and taste as I go.

Cooking (unlike baking) should never be precise, but according to taste and balance (one of Alice's lessons I picked up and love)! Trust your gut and season slowly, tasting along the way.

You'll be surprised at how well you know your own tastebuds... ;)

Goat Cheese Bruschetta
1 carton of heirloom cherry tomatoes
Handful of basil
Two large garlic cloves
Two Tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Goat cheese (I leave mine out of the fridge for a little while to soften it a bit before using)*
Good quality artisanal baguette (I like sourdough or french for this)

Roughly cut cherry tomatoes into fourths or sixths (not too big) and place in bowl. Finely chop basil and add to bowl. Mince garlic and add to bowl. Add a good dose of olive oil, the lemon juice and the dijon mustard. Stir well, then season with salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust to your liking.

Split baguette in half lengthwise, then into smaller handheld pieces. You can also create crostini by slicing the baguette thinly, arranging it on a baking sheet, drizzling it with olive oil and toasting in the oven... The choice is yours! Smear goat cheese on toasted bread and top with bruschetta mixture.

Bon appetit!

* The goat cheese is optional; this tomato concoction tastes great on the bread by itself.

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