Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garden-Fresh Tomatoes

I bought some beautiful, plump, juicy, bright red tomatoes from the farmer’s market one Saturday. They were so colorful and beautiful that I couldn’t quite resist.


Then I remembered that I have a love-hate relationship with tomatoes. I generally like them, particularly when cooked, but I can’t handle large chunks of raw tomatoes. I never liked tomatoes as a kid, and my like of them as an adult is accompanied by the caveat that they can’t be too tomatoey. If they are in large, raw chunks, they gross me out. I never, never put them on my salads, and if they’re put there by other people, I’ll be childish and dice them. But sometimes, in the right dishes, I do really like them. I know that sounds weird, but I know I’m not the only one (right Ashly?). Anyway, so here I am with this bushel of tomatoes and no idea what to do with them!


I also happened to have some chopped red onion in the fridge, so I used the “search by ingredients” function on allrecipes.com to search for something that could use both. I guess I was feeling creative, plus I just didn’t want either to go bad before I got to use them.

I found a recipe for chickpea salad with red onion and tomato. It sounded unusual, but I had all the ingredients and it was really highly rated, plus I liked the idea of making a light salad instead of something heavier, like a pasta dish.

Firs step, chop up those tomatoes.



Open a can of chickpeas, drain, and rinse. Be excited to have something to do with chickpeas other than make hummus.


Here are the rest of the ingredients: parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. The parsley is supposed to be fresh, but I didn’t have any and decided to make do with dried. I was also supposed to add chopped garlic, but I overlooked it somehow.


Dump it all together with the tomatoes and chickpeas.


And voila!


To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this. It was so simple and all. But I tasted it, then tasted it again, and then tasted it again. I forgot the garlic until the next day, but it was so good without it. I couldn’t believe how much better this recipe was than I expected. I think I might make this for my next potluck, since I always end up making an entrée and spending up twice as much time and money as everyone else.

But, truth be told, I didn’t think it was as good the next day. Interesting, since the recipe recommends chilling it. But it was still good, and I ate the whole thing within 3 days. The fact that it’s healthy made it relatively guilt-free.

But I still had tomatoes to use up!

I happen to love bruschetta. Bruschetta was what got me over my lifetime fear of raw tomatoes, actually. The flavor and texture of it is somehow much yummier than simple chopped tomatoes are. Don’t ask me to explain, just go with it.

Anyway, I did a search for bruschetta recipes but couldn’t find one that I wanted to follow. The ones I found had ingredients I didn’t have, or incorporated flavors I didn’t want, or just didn’t seem right somehow. I decided to invent my own. Dangerous, but exciting!

First, chopped up my beautiful tomatoes.



I added some olive oil.



Then I added some dried basil (should have been fresh, but didn’t have any), plus salt, pepper, and chopped garlic.


And then I mixed it all up with some shredded mozzarella. Then I think I may have added some oregano.


Of course, bruschetta is useless without toasted bread of some kind to put it on. But I didn’t have the foresight to buy French bread or anything else appropriate, so I used wheat bread.


Sliced it in quarters and then popped them into the toaster oven until crispy.

And that was my bruschetta.


It was really good! I didn’t measure anything so I don’t know if I can replicate it. But we ate a lot, so I am certainly motivated to try. I recommend giving it a shot. If you do, let me know how it does. What do you do when you make bruschetta?

Recipes in tastebook shortly.

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