Thursday, April 11, 2013


We all know that when life gives you lemons, you're supposed to make lemonade.  But what if life gives you several pounds of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and garlic in the same week that your loaf of bread doesn't rise all the way and the aquaponic basil is ready to be cut?  There are probably a lot of solutions, but one that has never failed us is to make an enormous batch of bruschetta.  Quick, easy, versatile, and delicious, bruschetta derives its name from the Italian meaning 'small, female brush' as in 'a stroke of genius from the lady who invented it.'  (edit: Katie says, "Doesn't it come from the Italian 'bruscare,' meaning, 'to toast?')  While we may never know the true etymology, we can certainly show you how we derived a tasty snack from this serendipitous flocculation of ingredients in our kitchen.

Our starting vegetable pile: two big tomatoes, probably 1.3 green peppers, a red pepper, a cucumber, half a giant onion, 0.25 cups basil leaves, and seven or eight cloves of garlic.
The garlic is trying to sprout, as garlic is wont to do this time of year.  It kind of looks like little alien garlic babies popping out of the old cloves, but they are delicious.
Chop everything up as you like.  Some say to chop finer since it makes it easier to eat in the end.  We're fine with larger pieces because we're going to smother ours with melted cheese, which will provide a stable matrix to hold everything in place.
Add a teaspoon each of black pepper, salt, dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary, three or four tablespoons of olive oil, and (if you like), a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar.  Mix well with your most traditionally Italian wooden spoon.
Start the broiler in your oven and toast your bread.  Once it's perfectly golden brown, take it out of the oven and spread on a thick layer of the chopped vegetable mix.
Add a slice of smoked turkey breast (or some other type of delicious cold cut) and a healthy layer of cheese.  Here we used provolone.
Return to the oven and broil until the cheese is melty, and maybe a little brown and bubbly if you like (5 minutes or so).  Make sure you scrape all the cheese off the cookie sheet so none gets wasted!  Katie's is the one on the right.

The recipe:
2 large tomatoes
1-2 large green peppers
1 medium cucumber
0.5 large onion
0.25 c packed fresh basil leaves
7-8 cloves garlic
3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
Sliced meat
Cheese of choice

Chop the veggies, mix well with the remaining ingredients.  Toast bread, top with vegetables, meat and cheese.  Broil until cheese looks melty and delicious.  Wasn't that easy?

 Do you have a favorite bruschetta recipe?  How have you made use of an unseasonable windfall of vegetables?  Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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