Saturday, April 20, 2013

summer at home

herbs (from left): cilantro, oregano, thyme, basil

I'm taking a needed break from Japan posts to revel in being at home. After a very busy first half of the summer, I've greatly enjoyed the past couple of weeks--shopping at our town's farmer's market, cooking with herbs from our backyard, reading on the back steps.

our "new" table & buffet: Matt's great-grandparents' set & his grandmother's tablecloth

Summer Bean and Tomatoes Bruschetta
from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool
Makes 12 servings

I halved everything and this made a nice light dinner for two along with a kale salad. I used a very nice Italian loaf from a Milwaukee-based bakery and a box of incredibly sweet mixed cherry tomatoes from the farmer's market. This really tastes like summer.

1 c miniature or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c sliced fresh basil
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz small green or wax beans (I used some of each), cut diagonally into 1/2-in pieces
12 thick diagonal slices whole grain or hearty Italian bread
6 oz fresh goat cheese, such as chevre
freshly ground black pepper (addicted to Penzey's four-peppercorn blend!)

Preheat the broiler. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. (Note: If you're making this as an appetizer with a pasta dish, consider blanching the beans along with the pasta to conserve energy and water. Or if you're a real planner, blanch the veggies you'll need cooked for the week all at once and store in the fridge.)

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oil, vinegar, and salt. Toss to coat well. Let stand for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes or until tender-crisp (I preferred them pretty soft so they were easier to eat in the bruschetta topping.) Drain and rinse with cold water. Add to the tomato mixture.

Place the bread slices on a broiler pan. Broil for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on one side. Turn the slices and brush each with some of the juices from the marinated tomatoes. Broil for 2 minutes longer, or until browned. Remove the bread and place on a large serving platter, moistened side up. Divide the cheese evenly among the bread slices and spread over each.

Scatter the tomato mixture over the cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

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