Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Patio Garden and An Herbed Bruschetta Recipe

We do not have a garden...yet! So we do the next best thing, we fill our patio with pots. This year we have tomatoes that Isaac grew from seed. We have herbs that I bought at WalMart. We have flowers that my mom brought me from Michigan. Our whole family loves the lush green surrounding our patio throughout the summer. So while we are not plowing up the back forty, we are doing the best we can with what we've got.

Here are a few pictures of my dirt balls, whom I love with all my heart, collecting their treasures. We have a sharing rule that forbids the pickers from eating their fill. Of course that rule is really only enforced when I am watching them. It is really odd how when they pick on their own, the harvest is really quiet small. But when I am around to join in on the fun the harvest is much more bountiful. In all honesty, I will NEVER complain that my kids ate too many home grown veggies...but they don't know that and I do want them to share.

I do not think that the kids had picked more than three tomatoes before they were wondering what 'we' were going to do with them.

I was not exactly sure myself. Maybe I needed to rethink the no eating rule. I was just about to suggest they quickly eat the entire batch of tomatoes when my son suggested bruschetta. Bruschetta? We love bruschetta. It is so simple and yet, so incredible. If I were rich, I would have my cook make it everyday and have my maid deliver it to me. I must admit, a big part of why I grow herbs in the summer time is so I can have this amazing dish whenever the spirit moves me.

To start with, I gather up a board full of simple ingredients. Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, a loaf of store brand bread, a few fresh herbs and of course the tomatoes.

Chop up the tomatoes in a small dice. I really do not recommend using cherry tomatoes for this. If my children did not grow these tomatoes all on their own, I would have bought a couple of roma tomatoes at Wal Mart. But since my children did grow these from seed and the plants lived to produce a big pile of tiny tomatoes, I will dice them up with a smile on my face. But you can buy roma's!

Don't put your knife away just yet. You need a few fresh herbs minced up. I am going to use basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. You can use whatever herb combination that you want. Just a hint though, rosemary and oregano and on the stronger side so you might want to use those a bit sparingly in this dish. I love all these herbs. I love them so much because they grew their little hearts out this year. But mostly I love them because they taste and smell so good.

Next you are going to add a few things to your tomatoes and herbs. Just a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and spoon or two of balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil and you are on your way to tomato heaven!

Then mix it all up together.

Now, the bread. You may use whatever you would like. I am using a loaf of white bread that comes unsliced. So, slice off a few pieces about half an inch thick. (You will want more than two slices.)

Then drizzle or brush olive oil onto the bread and season with salt and lots of pepper.

Then grill the bread until it has the amount of char that you like. My oldest son grilled this bread. He did a great job! You can also whip this treat up in the middle of winter. Just brush your bread with olive oil and season it. Then line up the slices on a cookie sheet and toast the bread until golden brown in a 350 degree oven.

Now here comes the good part. Spoon the bruschetta onto the grilled bread...which is technically called crostini.

And don't forget a little of that lovely vinaigrette.

And here you go! Summer time on a plate. I garnished my plate with a tiny bouquet of nasturtium blossoms because they are so pretty and edible.

Imagine that you are enjoying this on my patio with me, a glass of wine and the setting sun. I'll imagine it with you.

Tomato Bruschetta


1 Cup Diced Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Minced Herbs
1 1/2 Teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Plus More For Grilled Bread
Few Pinches of Salt
Few Pinches of Black Pepper
Slices of Grilled Bread


Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Stir. Spoon tomato mixture over grilled bread. Enjoy.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe click here.

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