It's official. It is mid-August and we are full on into harvest season. Things are starting to flow into market, including the first of the tomatoes that are actually worth eating. I've been itching to cook with raw tomatoes, so I took the plunge and bought some cherry tomatoes to make one of our favorite summer dishes: bruschetta topped with tomatoes, garlic, and cheese. We had a crowd to feed, so I decided to double the recipe and make a quick pasta sauce. I'm lucky enough to live in one of those states where people bring their excess vegetables to work for anyone to claim, so I had a few big zucchini squashes to use. After roasting them in the oven to get them crispy, I threw them into the pan after whipping up the tomato topping and reserving half for the bruschetta. I stretched mixture with kale and pasta, and served it all with a fresh salad from the backyard of lettuce and cucumbers. While I threw the topping together on the stove, I toasted the bread in the oven.
This meal comes together in less than an hour and doesn't require much hands on time, so try it the next time you have lots of tasty tomatoes on your hands, which I hope is sooner than later.
Easy Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic
serves 12 as a side or appetizer (note: I used half of this recipe to make the summer pasta and it served 6 as a side.)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
1 baguette, sliced
1 log goat cheese, or soft cheese of your choice (we like quark)
Preheat the oven to 350. Brush the bread with olive oil. Toast the bread in the oven while you make the topping. Usually this takes around 10-15 minutes. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, let it cook just enough to handle. Lightly rub each slice of bread on the top side with a garlic clove. It should melt easily but don't put on too much as the raw garlic can be a little spicy. If you don't love garlic or have sensitive eaters, skip this step.
Begin the topping by heating a little oil in your pan. Add your chopped onion and cook over medium high heat until it begins to soften and become translucent, 2-3 minutes. Then add your thinly sliced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the garlic softens and you start to smell it. Then, add your tomatoes and lemon juice. Cook just until the tomatoes soften a little but still hold their shape. Season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the sliced basil into the pan after you've taken it off the heat and stir. To serve, spread your soft cheese on each slice and serve with the tomato topping in a bowl so people can serve themselves.
Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Kale
serves 4-6 as a main dish
1/2 bruschetta recipe above
4 zucchini squash, chopped
1 bunch (5-10 leaves) kale, chopped
1/2 c. raspberry vinaigrette, recipe below
1/2-1 lb. pasta
parmesan cheese to serve
1 tbsp. stone ground mustard
1 tbsp. raspberry preserves
1/3 c. raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil salt and pepper
Make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients except the oil in the bottom of a bowl or jar. Whisk together or shake to combine and add then slowly add the oil until it's fully incorporated and the vinaigrette has good body. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chop the zucchini
and toss it with enough vinaigrette to coat.
Spread on to a sheet pan
Roast at 425 for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Once the zucchini are roasted, add them and the sliced kale in the pan with the leftover tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Serve warm over pasta with parmesian, the bruschetta, and a crispy green salad.
A little extra basil on top never hurt anybody, so feel free to throw some on.
The cicadas are calling me, so I'm out to the backyard. When I come back later this week, I'll have TWO exciting canning things to share with you, one of which involves my new pressure canner! Until then, go soak up this weather and make some simple food.