Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

On Saturday I went to the Farmer’s market in Ste. Anne with Ian. I bought this strange looking sandwich thing. I am not entirely sure what it’s called. It looks like a great big kernel of wheat. See?

I only know that it is made of home-ground whole wheat flour and baked. And it’s filled with a mixture of lentils, carrots, tofu curds, green peppers, chili peppers, red peppers, and is almost fat-free. I also know that it’s awfully tasty and filling.

We went to a marvelous and charming little cafe in town, called Twigs. They have the most innovative sandwiches I’ve ever seen or heard of. Alligator sandwich, anyone? They also have excellent espresso, which has become my treat reserved for Saturdays.

Anyways, we also picked up a baguette at the market. Very delicious bread with a crunchy crust and a chewey inside. That is, if you eat it on the same day. Which we didn’t. So what happened to the bread? It got hard and dry, blame it on the Montreal weather. It has been very cold these past few days. I even broke out winter boots. Yes, winter boots in September.

In efforts to resuscitate the baguette, I made bruschetta! (Was going to make baked french toast but forgot…)

Simple ingredients. Easy dish. Elegant look. Wonderful taste. Read on for the recipe.

Oh, did I mention that Ian is learning to cook? I didn’t? Oops. Well, it seems that his first lesson is knife skills, seeing as he made salad today with boiled eggs. (If your boiled eggs always have the icky bluish-greenish sulfur ring, follow this trick: bring eggs to a full boil for 2 minutes ONLY, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes, rinse with cold water and peel. I guarantee perfect eggs every time.)

Doesn’t the olive oil and balsamic vinegar look like the perfect couple approaching each other shyly? No? Okay, maybe it’s just me. 😉

Note: Rubbing the garlic on the toast gives just enough garlicky-goodness without visible, or overwhelming chunks of garlic. Enjoy.

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
serves 3-4

1/2 lb. fresh tomatoes
5-6 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade, or fine strips
dash of onion salt, to taste
pepper to taste
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half crosswise
1/2 of a day-old baguette, sliced

  1. Place the baguette slices on a baking tray and dry in 250 degree oven until crisp, about 20 minutes, or more if your bread is more fresh.
  2. Chop the tomatoes and combine with the rest of the ingredients except for the garlic. Set aside.
  3. Rub one side of each toast with the garlic and top with tomato mixture.
  4. Eat.

Rooster’s Beak (Pico de Gallo)

I didn’t know that pico de gallo means rooster’s beak. But then again, Spanish is not my strongest suit. I apparently did know Spanish while I lived in Spain, when I was five. Tell that to my brain, and my mouth, both of which are hopeless when it comes to the language.

Regardless of my language skills, I went to the local farmer’s market today and picked up some tomatoes, lime, and cilantro. The fixings of pico de gallo. Pico de gallo is wonderfully fresh and spicy, with a lovely texture. Plus it looks pretty. The crunch of the onions is offset by the softness of the tomatoes. A touch of lime juice brightens up the dish. Use less jalapenos is you can’t handle the heat. On the other hand, leave some of the ribs (white membranes) in the peppers if you do happen to love the heat.

Serve with tortilla chips, on tacos and fajitas, or dig in with a spoon. 🙂

Pico de Gallo

1 large onion
3 medium Roma tomatoes
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed (see note above)
1/2 a lime
freshly ground pepper
salt

First, finely dice the onion. Then dice the tomatoes. Thirdly, chop the cilantro. Fourthly, finely finely finely dice the jalapenos, nobody likes to sink their teeth into a big chunk and by the time they realize, it’s too late. So please, finely. Put all four ingredients in a large bowl and squeeze the juice out of the lime into the bowl. Grind some pepper over top. Generously salt. Mix together and taste. Add more jalapenos if you wish.

Green Onion Pancakes

This is yet another dish I seldom order when eating out at a Chinese restaurant. Not that they don’t get it right. Most places make acceptable pancakes. It’s hard to totally botch them. They are pretty easy to make. However, a lot of restaurants fry them in a ton of oil and the appetizer end up greasy. Not good. So I make it at home. Usually though, I make it with leftover dough, such as from making dumplings. There are many things that can be done with a piece of leftover dough. It’s a marvelous thing.

Dumpling dough is very lean, made with simply water and flour. It makes a good, chewy base for the pancakes. Use plenty of fresh green onions. Take care not to over salt and add too much oil, or you’d have hell with the rolling process.

I find these addictive and will nimble on it all day. It is best when it’s warm and crisp. Nimble nimble…there goes my waistline.

Green Onion Pancakes

Leftover lean dough, unleavened, if that is unavailable:
Mix 2 cups of flour with about 2/3 cup of cold water slowly, adding more flour or water as needed to make a malleable, slightly sticky dough. Knead 2-3 minutes. Let rest for at least 20 minutes.
1/2 cup chopped green onions, use more if you wish
2 Tbsp. oil
salt to taste
oil for frying (3-4 Tbsp.)

Roll out the dough into a large circle 1/4 inch. Sprinkle with oil, salt, and green onions. Roll up like you would cinnamon bun dough. Seal both sides. Cut into 2 inch segments. Twist and pinch to close each open end of each piece. Make sure it’s closed well. Roll out each piece. Flour your work space as needed. If the green onions burst out of the dough, it’s okay, just keep rolling.

Heat a frying pan with 1 Tbsp. oil until hot. Maintain the heat at medium. Fry each pancake 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Add more oil as needed, one tablespoon at a time. Nibble away!