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Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is one of those things; there seems to be so many variations and everyone has their own version.  Is it cooked and served warm?  Cold and raw?  Does it have garlic?  onions?  cheese?  vinegar or not?  About the only thing I know for certain, is that usually always involves tomatoes, basil and toast as an open-faced sandwich of sorts.  I guess the same could be said for almost any recipe, but it does surprise me that there seem to be infinite different versions something so simple– and all by the same name.

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And this is my style of bruschetta, and I’ve tried enough to be confident to say this is most definitely my favourite.

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This unseasonably warm weather lately has me getting excited for gardening season (and pining  for fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes!)

PREP TIME: COOK TIME: TOTAL TIME: 25 min YIELD: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 medium mixed variety heirloom tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small onion, diced small (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, (or substitute 2 tsp dried)
  • 2 heaping tbsp parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • small pinch of salt/pepper to taste
  • French bread, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • olive oil
 Directions:
  1. Preheat broiler to 425F.
  2. Brush oil on sliced bread and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Broil toasts under high heat for ~5 minutes, or until tops just start to brown then remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in small frying pan, fry diced onion in 1 tsp of olive oil just until softened and starting to brown (about 5-8 minutes).  Cooking the onions helps to mellow the strong flavour.
  4. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and toss in the cooked onions then let the mixture sit for at least 30 min before enjoying.
  5. Don’t top the toasted bread with tomato mixture until you’re ready to serve, otherwise the toasts tend to get a bit soggy.  Garnish with some fresh basil leaves if you’re feeling particularly fancy.
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Guac!

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Guacamole that is.  More specifically, easy guacamole for one (or make more to share by multiplying this recipe… your choice).  I, however, have been making single servings these days because my better half is struggling a bit with guac-overload.

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I’m a bit ashamed to admit that awesomeness of the avocado is only a recent discovery for me. This post is my homage to Chili’s Tableside Guacamole, which is really what kicked off my current obsession with this fruit.

PREP TIME: COOK TIME: TOTAL TIME: 10 min    YIELD: 1 serving
Ingredients:
  • 1  avocado, mashed
  • 3 tbsp diced tomatoes (equivalent to 1/2 a Roma tomato)
  • 1 tbsp grated or very finely diced red onion
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeño
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tsp of fresh cilantro finely chopped, if you happen to have)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
 Directions:
  1. Remove skin and pit from avocado, and mash the flesh.  A potato masher works well for this, or alternatively a hand blender or just a fork and a little elbow grease.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients with avocado and serve. This is best if eaten immediately!
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Pizza Sauce

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Why buy pre-made pizza sauce when it’s so easy to make yourself with pantry-friendly ingredients?  Who knows.  Well, ok, I do know: because it’s very convenient to go to a store and buy a bottle and of course I’m guilty of his too on the occasion.  HOWEVER, with a little planning ahead, I prefer to make my own.  Simply put, I believe it just tastes nicer, and (like everything that a person makes for themselves) I know what’s in it.

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Make this sauce while you’re waiting for pizza dough to proof.

PREP TIME: COOK TIME: TOTAL TIME: 15 min    YIELD: 2 pizzas
Ingredients:
  • 1 can of plain tomato paste (156 mL)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 3 tsp finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or substitute 1 tsp of dried garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
 Directions:
  1. In small bowl, combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least ~15 minutes before using.  Use right away on pizza or as desired, keep refrigerated for 2-3 days, or (what I like to do) make a bigger batch of it then portion it out and freeze it for future use.