Posts Tagged ‘ basil ’

Bruschetta….

Another family staple in my house is bruschetta. You can’t go wrong with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some fresh bread. Throw some cheese on it, and you’ve got a pretty filling sandwich alternative.

The recipe I used to use for bruschetta is sadly no longer online… or if it is, I can’t find it….

I’m horrible at writing down quantities, I just kind of chuck everything into a pan until it tastes right, but here’s my best effort:

Ingredients:

-1 baguette/focaccia bread

-4 cloves garlic (I always double this)

-1 /3 cup olive oil (extra virgin is best!)

-1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

-1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

-Salt and black pepper to taste

-700g roma tomatoes, chopped

Directions:

1. Mince or crush the garlic and add it to the olive oil, set aside.

2. Slice the baguette into 1.5cm slices.

3. Brush the slices with some of the olive oil/garlic mixture. Make sure to reserve 1 tbsp.

4. Put the bread slices oil side up on the top rack of the oven, and broil until the bread browns a bit. This should take about 5 minutes, depending on the oven. You just want to dry the bread enough so that it’s not soggy when you put the tomatoes on it. Be careful not to burn the bread!

5. In the meantime, put the remaining olive oil and tomatoes, balsamic vinegar  into the pan on medium heat. Add in the balsamic vinegar and  basil, mixing the ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook the tomatoes until they have softened a bit, no more than 5 minutes.

6. Spoon the tomato onto the bread slices and serve. Alternatively, you can put the bruschetta back in the oven after you’ve put the tomatoes on, and sprinkle it with some finely grated parmesan or some other low-moisture Italian cheese of choice.

These days I’m trying to stay away from bread, but I still love tomatoes, so I often prepare tomatoes bruschetta style to serve as a side dish. Here they are, and the next time I make proper bruschetta, I’ll add the pic.

Stuffed Mushrooms…

This is the first of a series of foods that myself or some other member of my family made for our open house on June 5. Unfortunately, many of the recipe books with the instructions are now inside a container on their way to Cambodia… so I will give a basic overview of the recipe now and post some pictures, and when I am reunited with the cookbooks, I’ll update the entries and include the recipes, for those who were curious about all the goodies we made.

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This entry is dedicated to stuffed mushrooms. While there are many ways to stuff mushrooms, one of our favourites comes from the Australian version of the magazine delicious. While the proportions of the ingredients have escaped me for now, I know that this recipe involves mushrooms, ricotta cheese, pesto, basil, and parmesan cheese (we used peco romano).

As you can see by the photo of the cooked mushrooms, they are a family favourite, and very popular with our guests. By the time I got the right lens on my camera, half of the mushrooms were gone!

Pizza Pizza daddy-o!

On Friday I decided to make some home-made pizza. The pizza in Holland is pretty crappy… it tends to be way too salty, overpriced, or both, so a lot of the time, when we have the energy, we like to make our own. I won’t write a long protracted entry about pizza, but I’ll just summarize the highlights.

I found this simple dough recipe on allrecipes.com a while back while I was in Korea. I like it because you don’t have to let it rise, so if you need a pizza in a hurry you can make it within an hour. When you do have the luxury of time, letting it rise is great, it gives the dough a nice texture when it’s baked. I like to throw in some dried thyme and basil into the dough when I’m kneading it, to make things a little more gourmet :P.

Otherwise… my mom insists that the real Italians use balls of fresh mozzarella cheese on their pizza, so that’s what we buy. Since I like to bastardize things, I still throw on a little belegen cheese, because I find the mozzarella a bit bland, but too much gouda would make it way too salty.

As for the sauce, I just take straight pureed tomato, throw in some herbs, salt and sugar till it tastes right, then spread it on my pizza. No need to buy the fancy stuff when you make it the way you like it 🙂

Since I always have a bit of dough left over because I am particularly inept when it comes to rolling out the dough, I also try to do something with it. Sometimes I make a mini pizza, sometimes my sister makes raw pizza (it’s exactly what it sounds like) and sometimes I like to make a pizza pocket. On Friday I went for the pizza pocket. It turned out good, probably my best one in a while… the only thing I need to figure out is how to stuff it in such a way that even when the dough rises a bit, there’s not a ton of air between the walls of the pocket and the filling. That probably involves making a dough with less yeast, I guess.

Q: Where do you find information about eggs?

A: In the hen-cyclopedia

So this entry is dedicated to another staple for any home maker. Deviled eggs.

Deviled eggs are great cos there are so many ways you can adapt a basic deviled eggs recipe. You can make them as gourmet as you want, depending on the occasion. They’re also visually appealing. Pair some nice deviled eggs with a nicely patterned plate and they will be guaranteed to catch SOMEONE’s eye at a potluck. Make this with light mayo, and even those watching their waistlines will indulge.

I discovered the joy of deviled eggs rather late, I must say. It was last year actually, at an American Thanksgiving dinner in Korea. That sounds like a rather unlikely set of circumstances for a Canadian to be eating deviled eggs for the first time, but it happened. Fortunately, they were made by a co-worker of mine who was once a chef, and whose attention to detail both in flavour and presentation is as good as anyone’s. In short, I had some damn good deviled eggs.

I made them for the first time at Easter, since my little sis had never tried them. They got gobbled up fast. Since it was her last day of high school this week, I decided to make them for her again, since she’d asked for them a few times since Easter. I got a little careless and dropped them face first on the counter, hence the softly-smashed look some of them have… but shhh she doesn’t know!

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe, and omitted the fresh thyme and chives, since the grocery store I usually go to doesn’t sell the whole plant fresh. Obviously if you can get fresh herbs on the cheap, go with fresh herbs as opposed to dry. I also used less mayo than the recipe asked for… I didn’t measure exactly, but I feel like it was around ¼ cup. I found the yolk filling a bit too mushy last time.