I wasn't planning on blogging about this meal, but it turned out so damn good that I had to share. There was something auspicious about Tuesday night - there was a chance we would be able to see the Northern Lights, I got done in the office early (which never happens), wine was going to be involved. It made me want to cook something different, but nothing too new which would take me an hour or more.
I remembered that we had some leftover baguette from the night before and decided I would get some farm stand tomatoes (since we wouldn't have enough of the cherry tomatoes, yet) and try to throw together a bruschetta. We also have basil and Italian parsley in our garden and I've been itching to make a pesto.
A note on my novice-ness in the kitchen. I've never broiled anything. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm a vegetarian, but maybe more to do with the fact that I don't know how. The latter was thoroughly demonstrated Tuesday night, when I decided to broil the baguette before putting the tomato mixture on top. I think I left it in the broiler for about 2 minutes before I smelled something burning. Partner in crime should be happy I thought ahead and bought an extra baguette just in case. I may not ever broil again. (Our oven does run incredibly hot though, so that might have had something to do with it).
The food was delicious, the night beautiful...until the clouds rolled in. No sightings of the Northern Lights from our little piece of New England but had a lovely summer night anyways.
*Both of the below recipes are easily expanded for more people.
Adapted from Simply Recipes Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
2 large Heirloom tomatoes
7-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
1 handful of shaved Parmesan cheese (you could use grated, but I have recently discovered shaved Parmesan- yum)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more to brush french bread with
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 baguette (preferably crusty French bread, but you could substitute Italian bread)
Serves 2-3 as an appetizer or side dish
1) Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2) Beginning chopping tomatoes into 1 inch chunks, remove seeds and stem area. Place in a medium size bowl along with basil leaves and garlic. Set aside
3) Cut baguette in 2-3 segments about 3-4 inches long, then cut these in half so that are open. Brush with olive oil and place on baking sheet, crust down.
4) Place bread in the oven until beginning to become toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
5) When you place the bread in the oven, add the Parmesan, olive oil (you could cut back on this amount here, but it did come out wonderful), and balsamic to tomato mixture and mix well.
6) Remove bread once it is beginning to be toasty, spoon tomato mixture on top of each piece.
7) Place back in the oven and bake for another 2-3 minutes until tomato mixture is slightly heated. There may be some sizzling if a tomato piece or juice fell onto the baking sheet. The balsamic will actually soak into the bread as it cooks.
Basil Parsley Pesto
Adapted from Taste of Home Recipes' Basil Parsley Pesto
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic
handful of walnuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
a dash of salt
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend well until desired consistency. I am not very happy with our blender currently, it's rebelling, as many other home appliances that have come before it have. We're not to the smoke-coming-out-of-the-wire part yet, but may be getting close. Anyways, I mean to say that it came our coarsely chopped and I usually like my pesto creamier. This coarse pesto was perfect. I served it on whole wheat spaghetti with some of our cherry tomatoes halved and thrown on top.