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I am a wife, mother, teacher, runner, baker, fund-raiser, reader, watcher of movies, dog-lover, writer, music-lover and foodie. So - I'm a woman of many moods! I write and share in order to teach and enrich. I currently have two blogs going: The Kitchen Refugee, and A Mile At A Time. The first is about time spent in the kitchen and the second about time spent on the road. Frequently the two roads intersect!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beautiful Bruschetta

Our boy, Earl, posing in a pile of leaves last fall.
As long as he's in the back of a pick-up, he's happy!
The daylight is getting shorter, and the nights are getting cooler.  I have that melancholy season-change feeling when Summer is ending and Fall begins.  I do love Fall, but it just seems to have arrived so soon!  Eastern Oregon generally has some of its most spectacular weather in October so I'm hoping for a nice, long, Indian Summer.

I was going to harvest then dig up the basil for the last time today, but my husband suggested we hold out until the first frost.  I have more pesto in my freezer than I know what to do with and I'm getting tired of the process.  We have been enjoying fresh basil in a lot of dishes, and on our pizza, so I decided to leave the pots alone for now and we'll see how much longer we can grow herbs.

My mother in law has a counter full of ripe tomatoes, and my little cherry tomatoes came on all at once.  Since it's cool enough to bake bread, I figured I'd bake up a crusty loaf and make some Bruschetta.
Now, I thought Bruschetta was always topped with a tomato-basil mixture, but I did a quick look on Wikipedia (I know, not the most worthy of informants) and found this definition:

Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation: [brusˈketta]  is a hearty appetizer from central Italy whose origin dates to at least the 15th century. It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese; the most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomato, garlic and onion or mozzarella. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer.

(JJ if you want to weigh in on this, please do!)

I don't really have a recipe for this, but there are plenty on the internet.  It's just one of those things that if you know what you like, you'll figure out how much of each ingredient to use.
I start with a mixture of tomatoes - cut in small pieces and seeded.  I like to use a variety if I have them - I  add in cherry tomatoes or the yellow pear tomatoes for a festive look.  Then I chop fresh basil leaves, add a small drizzle of olive oil, some salt and course ground pepper.

Crusty artisan bread hot from the oven!
Next I prepare the bread.  I cut it in thin slices and either brush it with olive oil, or if I'm feeling really decadent, I spread it (lightly) with butter.  I brown the bread on both sides in a frying pan.  When the bread is still hot from the pan, I cut a garlic clove in half, and rub the cut side against the hot bread.  This is where true magic happens.  I've seen this done on cooking shows, and never really understood the value of this small gesture until I tried it.  No chunks of garlic to eat, just the nice essence of garlic on the bread.  Mmmm...

Top the garlic/toasted bread with the tomato mixture and just smile to yourself.  It's such a nice way to take advantage of the end of summer abundance.  I always savor it - I know how much snow and freezing temps I'll have to endure before I see and taste another blood-red tomato again.

This is clearly an internet photo - I can never leave my
bruschetta alone long enough to take its picture!

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