Home sweet home…finally, after a good bit of off and on traveling the last couple of weeks. I’ve spent most of the last couple of weeks at my mom’s house and this past weekend we were in Mississippi helping friends celebrate their daughter’s college graduation from Ole Miss. Traveling is fun but it sure is nice when your head hits the pillow in your own bed.
Oxford, Mississippi, is such a great, eclectic small town with a New Orleans feel to it, and we had a blast hanging out at the town square. Two families drove over, along with the graduate’s family, and we spent the weekend celebrating with the joy that comes from spending time with the best of friends…eating, drinking, talking, laughing…this is what “doing life together” is all about.
For my food contribution, I wanted to take things that would travel well and work for appetizers or a quick lunch. I decided on pimento cheese, pound cake and bruschetta. Throw in some sliced bread or crackers and you have a couple of tasty appetizers that you can make a day early and easily transport to someone’s house if need be.
Bruschetta is one of those Italian foods that suffers from mispronunciation, not just in the South, but in much of the non-Italian speaking world. The correct pronunciation is “broo-SKEH-tah,” but around here it’s generally pronounced “broo-SHEH-tah,” even by waiters who should know better. It’s such a common mispronunciation that it almost seems pretentious to pronounce it correctly. However you say it, bruschetta is full of flavor, low-fat, low-calorie and a perfect addition to a summer spread. It can be eaten on sliced French bread or even used as a salsa for fish or chicken. Tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil…you just can’t go wrong with that combination!
Start with several plum tomatoes and chop them, squeezing out most of the juice and pulp. Brian was my kitchen assistant of the day who actually made the bruschetta.
Add some fresh basil, marjoram and oregano, chopped shallot, garlic, and then a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You can use dried marjoram if you don’t have fresh (which is what I did), but don’t even think about using dried basil. If you don’t have fresh basil then make something else. Trust me. Toss everything into one bowl and stir gently.
Bruschetta will keep in the fridge for several days and actually tastes better the day after you make it since the flavors have melded together.
Bruschetta and Hotty Toddy
- 5 large plum tomatoes chopped, juices squeezed out
- 1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh marjoram
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chop tomatoes, discarding most of the juice and pulp. Add tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and gently stir.
- Cover and refrigerate until needed. Stir before serving.