Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bruschetta makeover

Over the weekend I obtained a large box of homegrown tomatoes, some my father brought me from his favorite farmer and some from my aunt and uncle's garden. I also brought home some jalapenos and bell peppers from their garden. One last thing I picked up is a new (to me) vegetarian cookbook from a used bookstore. I might have mentioned before that I don't have one cookbook that I'm completely happy with and I typically peruse the 'net for recipes. I picked up The New Vegetarian Epicure and read author Anna Thomas' section on tomatoes.

I made what she calls Minted Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese. Probably the biggest obstacle to this differentiating itself from my previous post on bruschetta is that I omitted the mint. My grocery store happened to be out of fresh mint; I didn't feel like making another stop. Well, that and I just mixed everything up without layering it as she instructs. Alex and I agreed that the red onions and feta, though, were nice additions. I might need to research what parboiling those tomatoes in the other recipe accomplishes, as well, because these were just fine freshly chunked.

Ingredients: (confession - I didn't measure! I eyeballed the amounts to my desired proportions and also tried to make just enough for two servings; the recipe as written claims 6-8 servings as a first course or 10-15 as part of a buffet.)

4 cups ripe tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar -- I probably used more, even though I used less tomato
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium red onion -- I used less because I find it to have a bite that's pleasant only in small doses
4 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

Serve with crusty bread

Combine the tomato chunks with a tablespoon of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mint, and basil. You can reserve some mint for garnish. Salt lightly, especially as the feta is salty. Mound the tomato mixture in your serving dish and arrange the feta around the tomatoes. Scatter thin slices of red onion over the cheese. Drizzle the remaining teaspoon of oil over the feta and onions, then sprinkle on the remaining mint.

Like I already mentioned, I mixed everything up and it was so good I only took one photo. I can see her arrangement being visually appealing, mine sure was easier to eat. Once everything is chopped, this is super-easy to put together.

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