Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Labor Day 2009 - Bruschetta

Thursday, September 3, 2009
Most of us view Labor Day as the official end of summer. So send summer off with a bang by throwing a Labor Day party for your closest family and friends. Enjoy a casual summer to say farewell to the lazy days of summer. Savor the fresh-picked taste of fruits and vegetables before the season ends.

Naturally, your gathering should be set outdoors. Simple is always best when setting up an outdoor event. Bring life to your table by decorating with fresh fruits and vegetables. Large bowls or baskets filled with ripe tomatoes or peaches are easy to assemble, and economical because you can eat them once your party is done!
Be sure to have plenty of ice and water on hand. Though it's the end of summer the weather will still pretty warm out. In fact, most of Florida will still be experiencing 95+ degree weather.
Be prepared for pesky summer mosquitos. You may want to light citronella candles before dusk. Or you may make your own natural mosquito repellent.
Next plan an easy menu that can be prepared ahead of time so that you can enjoy the party.
Here is a suggestion for an easy appetizer. Bruschetta (pronounced "brusketta") is a wonderful way to capture the flavors of ripe summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil, and garlic. This easy appetizer can be prepared in advance and assembled at the last moment. Here is how to make a simple, but yummy brushetta:

Ingredients

  • 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Prepare your tomatoes by cutting them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Then chop the tomatoes.
Make sure there is a top rack in place in your oven. Turn on the oven to 450°F to preheat.
While the oven is heating, put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven. Once the oven has reached 450°F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.

To serve, you may either place the tomato topping in a bowl separately with a spoon for people to serve themselves over the bread, or place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy.
Enjoy your weekend and be safe.

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